Off-Track, On-Purpose

S1E4: Dr. Lisa Jackson

Episode Summary

Dr. Lisa Jackson is Managing Partner at the Imago Dei Fund, the current hill station in her eclectic career journey that weaves through higher education, direct social service, and philanthropy, and originates from a strong set of values around justice, equity, and inclusion. Raised in California, Lisa comes from a long line of proud and successful Howard University graduates, including parents holding a Holy Trinity of doctoral degrees, an MD, a PhD and a JD. Needless to say, the bar was set high for educational achievement in her childhood home. She herself would also go on to Howard, study psychology, and complete her PhD at Stanford University in Education. But don't let the academic degrees fool you, as you will learn, her path has been hardly conventional. Lisa's unique blend of ferocity, curiosity, insight, and levity is a true gift to the world and embodies the spirit of this podcast.

Episode Notes

Dr. Lisa Jackson is Managing Partner at the Imago Dei Fund, the current hill station in her eclectic career journey that weaves through higher education, direct social service, and philanthropy, and originates from a strong set of values around justice, equity, and inclusion.  

Raised in California, Lisa comes from a long line of proud and successful Howard University graduates, including parents holding a Holy Trinity of doctoral degrees, an MD, a PhD and a JD. Needless to say, the bar was set high for educational achievement in her childhood home.  

She herself would also go on to Howard, study psychology, and complete her PhD at Stanford University in Education. But don't let the academic degrees fool you, as you will learn, her path has been hardly conventional.  

Lisa's unique blend of ferocity, curiosity, insight, and levity is a true gift to the world and embodies the spirit of this podcast. 

Episode Transcription

Pod E4: Lisa Jackson

Britt: [00:00:00]Hello, and welcome to track on purpose, the podcast, where we come together to re-imagine academic and [00:00:15] faculty life. I'm your co-host Britt Yamamoto. And along with Mya Fisher, I want to thank you for joining us. We're here to have heart-centered conversations with people who have experienced and successfully endured advanced academic training and gone on to have a meaningful social impact through their creative pursuits and [00:00:30] practical actions.

Today's guest. Dr. Lisa Jackson is Managing Partner at the Imago Dei Fund the current Hill station in her eclectic career journey that weaves through higher education, direct social service and philanthropy and originates from a strong set of values around justice [00:00:45] equity and inclusion.

Raised in California lisa comes from a long line of proud and successful Howard university graduates,including parents holding a Holy Trinity of doctoral degrees. An MD, a PhD and a JD, needless to say the bar was set high for [00:01:00] educational achievement in her childhood home. 

She herself would go on to Howard study psychology, complete her PhD at Stanford university in education, but don't let the academic degrees fool you, as you will learn, her path has been hardly conventional.

Lisa's unique [00:01:15] blend of ferocity, curiosity, insight, and levity is a true gift to the world and embodies the spirit of this podcast. We're very fortunate to have her with us. Please enjoy our conversation.

[00:01:30]Pre-Flection [00:01:31]

Before we jump into our conversation we wanted to as always explore some pre flections about what we're thinking, what we're excited about Mya what's on your mind. 

Mya: I'mreally interested in some of the intentional choices that she's [00:01:45] made. I think a lot of us make decisions or feel like we've made decisions out of convenience, or just because we had to. And I'm interested in hearing about her start in the Academy and then making an intentional choice to depart the Academy .

Britt: Absolutely. I've [00:02:00] known Lisa for a few years now and really enjoy all the conversations that we've had and I have never talked to her about her academic journey. And as I got deeper into her training and her background, and that she actually was [00:02:15] in an academic position and decided to leave very curious about what went into that process, but then of course, made the decision to go work in the social sector she really captures that spirit of people who have successfully endured advanced academic training and got on [00:02:30] to live a life of social impact. And she has certainly done that through her arc. 

Mya: And education in so many different ways, too, right? It's not just traditional schooling education, but she has been working in areas around leadership [00:02:45] development for young people . And how does she see and think about education, and where does that fit in what she may feel is her purpose or something that she's passionate about? Because I think I like to think of myself as a  lifelong [00:03:00] learner and an educator and education and educator is one of those words that people throw around, but I'm not sure that we're always talking about the same thing.

And so to me, it just be interesting to hear. Specifically what that means to her. Also coming from a [00:03:15] family of teachers it's always interesting to see and hear how other people think about education as well. 

Britt: And I don't know though that this will come up, but the Imago Dei Fund that she is the managing partner for now has a very strong emphasis [00:03:30] on Religion and spirituality and so I don't know to what degree that may have played a role in her own educational arc and particularly some of the things that brought her to the Academy. So maybe we'll explore that as well. 

Mya: Because I think that too can feed [00:03:45] into, in our conversation and questions about, what it means to be a whole person for a lot of people, spirituality is a central part of who they are.

And if there is, a way to just hear about how somebody else feels that and uses that, or sees [00:04:00] that fitting into themselves and their identity, that could be really interesting .   

Britt: As always a lot of exciting things to explore with our guests today. So let's dive in. 

Interview, Lisa Jackson [00:04:11]

[00:04:15]Okay. Welcome to the podcast. Lisa Jackson, Lisa, we are so excited to have you with us. We've been looking forward to this conversation how are you doing today? Welcome! 

Lisa: Thank you. [00:04:30] Nice to be here with both of you and I'm doing all right. The sun is shining. The Hawks are flying outside my window. I'm good.

Britt: Sounds like a nice way to start the day.  We like to start all of our conversations with an academic origin story [00:04:45] and what brought you to graduate school and in your case, I think maybe what took you away from the Academy after you finished?

On Her Academic Origin Story [00:04:51]

Lisa: So I reflected on this before today and try and figure out where to start and it took me back to [00:05:00] growing up in a household with a father who was a physician and also got his JD when I was 13.A mother who got her PhD when I was 12 in education.  And acknowledging in my own brain that I come from a lot of [00:05:15] folks who have a lot of formal education.  My grandfather went to Howard and became a doctor. My father went to Howard and became a doctor.  We got a lotta schooling and my family. And so I think for the certain inevitability to me, and to have him [00:05:30] in school,  even though if you would ask me as a young person, I might not have immediately said, Oh yeah, I'm going to go to grad school and get a PhD in education.I think it was a track that has already been laid. 

I went to Howard as an undergrad and studied psychology [00:05:45] and quickly learned as I was a senior that when you study psychology, you don't have a whole lot of choices other than graduate school, unless you'd like to work for an insurance company or a psychiatric ward and neither of those things were [00:06:00] appealing to me as I was leaving Howard and realizing, I had a lot of really strong training in undergrad in the psych department, I had received a fellowship through the national institutes of mental health.  I had done a bunch [00:06:15] of research and so it was like, my faculty members were like, so of course you're going to graduate school.  I was like, Oh, okay. I guess I'm going to graduate school.  So I didn't take a minute and go out into the world. 

I went straight from undergrad to graduate school and ended up at [00:06:30] Stanford in large part because they seemed very flexible in how they thought about what a graduate degree was compared to some other institutions like university of Michigan, where I had also been accepted, but where they asked me if I [00:06:45] knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And I said, no, and they suggested that I should go somewhere else. So I ended up in Stanford, which was much more holistic and   "yeah, we'll figure it out once you get here, it'll be fine."  And it turned out, it [00:07:00] wasn't quite fine but was a beautiful place to figure that out.

So yeah, that's how I got to graduate school.  I didn't stay for very long.  This isn't something that shows up in my bio because it's not something you like to talk about with people, but the ups and downs of it all were quite [00:07:15] unexpected.  I went to graduate school at a time when you could go for free.  So my PhD was paid for, which gave me more room, to think about what I was doing there, what I was trying to accomplish. Then maybe if I really had to focus and get out of there because I was paying for it,  [00:07:30] so after the first year I was pissed because I didn't know why I was there and I was pissed because I thought they were selling a lot of crap around education, around psychology, around black and Brown kids in [00:07:45] schools. And every class I was in, I was picking a fight with a faculty member because I just didn't believe it thought that they were getting credit for really not that well thought out ideas and interventions.

And I had this wonderful faculty member who [00:08:00] was actually an anthropologist by training and he pulled me aside and he said, you should go drive a cab for a year  and then come back.  Go see the world, drive a cab, do something.  Cause remember I was like 22  I didn't know anything.

[00:08:15] So I took his advice. He also gave me the advice that I shouldn't leave Stanford without a degree.  And it turned out that Stanford offered a one-year master's with no thesis. So I took that, but put in my pocket sat down in the Dean's office who handed me his Rolodex and said, call [00:08:30] anybody and tell them, I told you to call and get yourself an interview somewhere for a job  ended up in DC in part, because I was in love with my now husband who was in Delaware and DC, was close to Delaware and got a job at a policy think tank and did that for a year as a [00:08:45] beltway bandit, contracting with the us department of education.  Continue to learn how screwed up education was out in the world. And that our government was really bad at it. But got a really solid training in how to write and how to do policy work. But also quickly realized I wasn't going to [00:09:00] be long for that job.

So that was like my cab driving year. 

And then... 

Britt: Time out. Were you literally driving a cab while you were working and??? 

Lisa: I never drove a cab.  That job is like my cab driving where you're learning new things, doing things you didn't think you'd ever do. Traveled [00:09:15] places like Alaska and yeah, I just did all kinds of funky stuff in that job, lived in DC, which was fabulous. And then but then was like, okay, wait a second. I'm supposed to be figuring out what I want to do. And I'm supposed to be figuring out the relationship of that to this degree program that I'm [00:09:30] in, that has given me a leave of absence, but that eventually I have to go back and finish, or at least that's what I thought I had to do. And so when it was clear that policy wasn't going to be in my life dream, I thought I'm in education. I should teach.  So I walked into an independent school in [00:09:45] Washington, DC that worked with kids who had been kicked out of every system and this was their last chance education opportunity. It's called the Parkmount school and got a job as a teacher with no certification to teach high school students and became a teacher with [00:10:00] a colleague who was a ski instructor and another colleague who was a lawyer and. Those were wild times.

And we taught high school to a lot of kids who had been really ripped off by family, by systems of schooling and foster care and criminal [00:10:15] justice and who were in need of an opportunity to be both cared for, but also to learn how to be who they were. And we had no training. This was like ready, set, go.

Cause it was my peace Corps version 

Britt: I was going to say, it sounds like [00:10:30] Americorps. 

Lisa: It was like that before AmeriCorps was a thing. And it turned out that I really liked teaching.  I didn't know, I liked teaching, but I really liked teaching andI really liked schools and the opportunity they give you to work with youth who are just so full of [00:10:45] wonderful stuff that you get to work with. I got offered a job to be the assistant headmaster of the school. And you know what I'm supposed to going back to graduate school, be getting a PhD in education. And I reached out to this wonderful woman who had [00:11:00] befriended me. And  one of these wise women, and I was telling her my dilemma and she looked at me and she said, girl, you need to get yourself back to graduate school and get that degree.

She was really clear. She was like, it's paid for? What is wrong with you? What are you doing? Finish this [00:11:15] little journey, get back to Stanford, get your degree. And then you can do whatever you want because you'll have a degree from Stanford, you'll have a PhD from Stanford. And so I took it to heart finished my year and then went back and technically I finished graduate school in four years.Just with [00:11:30] lots of breaks in it.  But once I got back with the clarity and with the experience that then informed my dissertation, I got it done. And I got out of there. So I don't know that was my journey. Not a straight line, my entire career has never been a straight line, but there you go. 

[00:11:45]Mya: And that is okay. I feel like the lack of straight lines is the most normal pathway for anybody, but nobody ever talks about it that way.

Lisa: I remember thinking to myself, how come I'm not one of those people who knew in high school that I wanted to be a lawyer, went to college, went to law [00:12:00] school and became a lawyer. I'd heard those people existed, but it wasn't me.

Mya:   I feel like there's so many questions in there  first of all, having a degree that's paid for is, compared 

Lisa: to now 

Mya: but also, departments that knew the type of students that they wanted.

being [00:12:15] clear about that versus, departments that may just, have as many students as they want, or they can fund or, to have large cohorts or whatever their motivation is. And also to have departments that [00:12:30] know that there are different types of students, right? So we've talked to different people about their departments and what their departments were training them for. And to hear, in your experience that Stanford, was willing to work with you to figure [00:12:45] out those things. It's just a different, it's a different type of story, right? It's not really what you hear. And for places as elite as Stanford to be able 

Lisa: to do that, 

There were some basics, you had to do certain things, but it was a pretty wide open kind of curriculum. So my [00:13:00] degree is in the school of education and then they have I forget what they call them, but like content areas within that, and mine was psychological studies in education.

When other people were doing counseling and education or clinical work and education, every had a different [00:13:15] kind of a sub area. And, but again, psychological studies and education, like what isn't that? And I took classes in psychology with Claude Steele and Hazel Marcus, amazing psychologist, and learned about social [00:13:30] psychology and the elements of the self.

And that really actually was the hub of my dissertation. I did a dissertation on the self-concept of African-American girls at the intersection of race and gender and class. And the only way I could have done that was to have taken those courses in psychology. [00:13:45] But I also took courses in anthropology and in communications because communications was the only place I could learn, how to actually make a strong survey. And then I would sit in on law school classes cause I still had this pining for the legal, I don't know when I was a kid, I did want [00:14:00] to be a lawyer. And for two seconds I thought I would get a dual PhD, J D but once again, somebody wisely counseled me not to do that.  But I did, I took a lot of critical race theory, which also informed my dissertation. So I got to pull from all these [00:14:15] places that then created this dissertation and to my pure luck, and fortune my dissertation chair, Kenji Hakuta embraced all of that and helped me create a dissertation committee that also included a woman from the university of, from [00:14:30] Ohio who was an expert in self-concept, on my dissertation committee in addition to Stanford faculty. So I have this really eclectic group of people on my dissertation committee. And yeah, it was not something that you could explain to somebody how to do, but it [00:14:45] turned out to be right for me .

On an Academic Canon and Eclectic Learning [00:14:46]

Britt: So you're not that old.

It wasn't like this was, the 19th century that we're talking about the Academy performing like this. [00:15:00] And I imagine that your experience is a bit like mine, where there's not a lot of people that that are able to speak to those kinds of experiences in grad school these days. So something changed.

And yeah. And have you thought about What it meant for you to have [00:15:15] that kind of, let's just say diverse, eclectic, academic experience that reflected your own diverse, eclectic intellectual interests. 

So we've had some conversations on this pod about  the nature of a discipline and how a discipline shapes and the canonical [00:15:30] thinking and foundational approach to knowledge. And I would imagine that you also receive that but at the same time, it was these larger things that you could pull in that enabled you to knit together, this really important orientation to an issue or the [00:15:45] world.

And so, what happened? Not to you necessarily, but what do you think happened? 

Lisa: It's interesting, when I look get some of my peers who went through the same program that I went through at Stanford, who had different faculty, that working with [00:16:00] different faculty and they were working more strictly with, as you call it the canonical, right?

They were doing the path. From the beginning, they were folks who then received the kind of training that once I started teaching at Boston college, I realized I did [00:16:15] not have. So despite having what I would call a rich and deep experience in the discipline of psychology and education in research.  My second year at Boston college as an assistant professor who was on the hook [00:16:30] for running a research program and writing in journals, and all of that was woefully lacking in some of the fundamentals around statistical analysis, around how to craft a research program on my own. Like I was [00:16:45] not as prepared as some of my peers, for example, who had gone to the university of Michigan or we'd gone through Stanford a much more traditional way.

And on the one hand it was terrifying to then be put into this job and to be like, okay, so have at it, [00:17:00] you must know how to do all of them. And then me going maybe I missed a class, but I don't remember that. They've taught me exactly how to do this. Everybody's take your dissertation and make it a bunch of journal articles. And I'm like, So my dissertation was mixed method and not a lot of journals are [00:17:15] super interested in mixed method. And my findings are quite complex and nuanced, and I managed to get a article. I got one and a higher ed journal published. I was like, okay, thank God. It was good for something. But beyond that, [00:17:30] I didn't have enough fodder to really do what a lot of my peers were doing, which was just farm it out because they could cut it up and, make it a bunch of journal articles.

My dissertation didn't lend itself to that. And so there, I was being told, okay, then get going on your next research program. And to be honest, so [00:17:45] there was a cohort of us that started at Boston college in school of education same time and all of it, almost all of us were people of color actually, as I reflect back it was a little cohort of mostly black people, maybe one Latino. And we were all looking at each other who's going to make it, who's going to make [00:18:00] it. Who's going to get tenure. You can't possibly all get tenure. Who's going to make it. And on Monday mornings, when we would come back from the weekend, everybody, we'd be around the copy machine and doing the, so what'd you do this weekend conversation. And I had gone to the movies. I had [00:18:15] gone out to dinner. I had explored Boston and my colleagues had spent the entire weekend in the lab or running their data or writing.

On Leaving the Academy [00:18:22]

And as time went on and that pattern started to become, I was like, Whoa, wait a second. I might be at the wrong place. This might not be the [00:18:30] place I'm supposed to be, and when I wasn't going to the movies and eating, I was in high school, I was in Jeremiah Burke and Boston doing afterschool programs with kids around, definitions of self. And we were creating maps, journey maps with kids about tell me a map of your life and tell me where you [00:18:45] want to go. And I was meeting teachers and principals and in an attempt initially to build a research program, but what really became my work, which was working with kids around, how do you survive in a world that doesn't want you to survive? And that was where I found my [00:19:00] energy and was spending my time in addition to going to the movies and going out to dinner. Whereas all my colleagues were very focused on traditional research and it became clear that sorry, Stanford. I know this was the plan you had not the plan. That's going to be my [00:19:15] plan.

And between working in high schools and teaching which again I do still love and loved them. I We had four classes a semester. BC was, crazy when it came to your load. But I loved the teaching. So between that and being in the high school, I was like, okay, can I have a job that does that?

Can I do that in that? [00:19:30] And they were like, yeah, no, that's not gonna work. You can't no, that's not a tenure package. It's okay, fine, bye. I'm leaving. And I left after three and a half years of giving it a shot. 

Britt: And when you decided to leave, what kind of reaction did you get from [00:19:45] your colleagues and also the faculty that had worked with you at Stanford that presumably helped you to get that job?

Lisa: The response that I got that affected me the most was not from any of them. It was from my family and my friends who were like, are you out of your mind? You have a tenure track job and you're going to do what. And I was like, I [00:20:00] don't know, but I'm not going to do this anymore. And they were like, I'm sorry, you just spend all that time in graduate school.

you have a PhD. That's what you're supposed to do is become a faculty member. But it was really hard because pretty early, my parents were confused and they were like, I don't understand, how's this going to [00:20:15] work? And my colleagues,  I met some amazing people at Boston college who were mentors to me and who were really really had my back.

And one of them in particular helped usher me through the process of getting up the nerve to tell the [00:20:30] Dean that I was going to leave. And we scripted and practiced. It felt very high stakes. And the thought that I was going to go in there and say, thank you, but no, I had other faculty members that were just  what, people just didn't understand.

And I didn't know very good way of [00:20:45] explaining it other than saying, this just is not my space. there are other things that I find more enjoyment and it's great that you fit here. I don't fit here, but this one person Arnie shore, who's still a very dear friend of mine walks me through it. He's you know what you need to [00:21:00] do. And what you want to do is valuable. Like he was really good at helping me not think I was crazy and having confidence in my choice and we practiced, we did this whole thing and I finally. I have an appointment with the DeanI've got a speech [00:21:15] and basically I burst into tears and then Arnie was like, you didn't, we did all that practice in tears.

I think it was just all the anxiety and all the weight of it. And, I just lost it. And to her credit, she let me have my [00:21:30] emotional moment and we talked it through and it was okay, the sky didn't fall, the earth didn't open up and swallow me. Everybody was super supportive. I managed to get a job, so that was helpful.

Cause I could talk about where I was going. Not just that I was leaving, but then I was [00:21:45] going to something. But yeah, and the students, in the end it was the students That embraced me the most and supported me the most. I was working with both undergrad and graduate students and they were the ones who really cheered me on the most as I was leaving and made it [00:22:00] okay.

But it was really hard. I didn't realize how hard it was going to be. I figured why would anybody care? But man, did people care? So yeah, it was hard. It was hard.

Mya: What I find really encouraging is that you had people who were also in your corner, to have somebody to sit and [00:22:15] walk you through. I've done that with other friends. When I'm trying to apply for a job or a fellowship or something, I always need to call somebody to help me push the button to submit it.

Lisa: Totally. Help me do it.

Mya: And for some people who have been going [00:22:30] in one direction for so long, and your family's response is also something that I've experienced with my family, don't understand my connection to Japan. what is this, how does this, how is this going to make you money? Those are serious reactions to [00:22:45] have to contend with. And, in your story, it's clear that you didn't do it by yourself. Or you had people who were there to support that. So that's, that's amazing, cause not everyone has that right?

Lisa: don't know that I could have done it.  I can't quite imagine having done it without all of that [00:23:00] support because it was really scary and I had literally just applied for one of those. I don't remember if it was Pew or Ford or one of those amazing fellowships you get in graduate school that gets you class reductions and you get to do research and I had literally just applied and one of my colleagues had spent an [00:23:15] inordinate amount of time with me to help me get this applicationreally strong, for submission. And then I turn around and say, I'm not staying. And. to her credit, she was you should do what you want to do, she didn't beat me up about it. She didn't make me feel bad about it. She still supported my decision [00:23:30] to leave. you asked about my dissertation chair, I think at some level he wasn't surprised because I think he knew that I needed to try it. And he knew that, I had what I needed, but I needed to figure out for myself whether that was going to be the thing. And when I told [00:23:45] him, he was like congratulations and good luck I hadn't done something irreparably harmful to our relationship by making that choice. And we're still in touch. I recently saw pictures of his grandchildren and it's a relationship over time and it's sustained, which is [00:24:00] awesome. And I know that doesn't always happen and I'm absolutely grateful for it. 

On the Credential [00:24:03]

Britt: like with all things, when we reflect back on significant decisions at different points of our lives, the contours of that decision start to shift a bit, or our relationship to that decision shifts a bit.

And I [00:24:15] imagine that this particular moment doesn't occupy your regular thinking. And so because of our conversation, it's bringing it forward a bit more. Is there anything about that decision now that you think differently about or feels differently at this point in your life?

Lisa: Not really. I [00:24:30] think. If I could do it all over again, what have I done when I've done it that way? Or what I have...  that Stanford PhD has paid me back in spades. I wouldn't give that up for anything, every job I've ever had. I have in part, because I walk around with those letters after my name [00:24:45] and I went to Stanford and I'm not blind to that. That's real. And as much as people would like to believe that those things don't matter, they deeply do for better or for worse. And I wouldn't want to give that back because it afforded me all of the experiences that I've had since [00:25:00] Stanford, right?

The first job I got out of Boston college, I was hired as an executive director for a federal government grant to the Boston public schools. My job was to run this grant. And it was a collaboration between 12 colleges and universities and 12 middle schools to [00:25:15] help kids  get on the path to college. That's what the job was. But a lot of it was relationship management and there was fundraising and there was knowing Boston politics. I didn't know any of that. And when I interviewed for the job, I will never forget it. I said to the woman, I said, [00:25:30] I need to be really honest with you. I've never raised money. I've never worked in public schools. I barely know Boston, She said, you have a PhD from Stanford, you can figure it out.

Okay. And I did, I figured it [00:25:45] out, but seriously, the faith she put in my training to be able to figure out how to do that job and the credibility that degree gave me to then get him, get in meetings with superintendents and with the mayor's office. And. She knew. Even if I didn't know that all of that bundled [00:26:00] together would help us be successful in the work and it did.

So yeah, I wouldn't give up that PhD for anything. I wish I had gone about it a little differently, suffice it to say, the ups and downs while they were amazing, a little whiplash, a little mental health fatigue, [00:26:15] maybe I could have skipped over would have been nice. But I'm not sure I could have.

When whenever you do that, look back. I don't know if I could have done it any other way. If I hadn't gone straight to graduate school, I might've never gone back to graduate school to be quite honest. I can't quite imagine me waking up one morning and saying, "Oh yeah now I want to go [00:26:30] get a PhD" after having been out in the world for 10 years. I don't see that in myself. So in some ways the straight course from undergrad to grad was the only thing that made sense for me. Because of who I am and how I operate in the world. 

the only thing I know for sure is that I would [00:26:45] have preferred not to have moved to Boston. While I have lived here for now 25 years, California is where I grew up it's home and I've never been able to get back there. And I think that's the one thing I regret the most is leaving because I didn't realize [00:27:00] how hard it was for me to get back. But other than that and Boston, it's not that bad of a place to live, though it does have its issues. I can't complain, 

Britt: it sounds like that your elders along the way, at least during that time of grad school and also finishing up were just so crucial in [00:27:15] being able to see that future that you have experienced where that credential would allow you to be able to open significant doors that perhaps not have been and thank God that they were forceful enough or that you would listen enough to take that. [00:27:30] 

Lisa: Yeah, thank God. Cause I would rail against the Academy all the time I remember having a call with my mother where I was like " They've Lied!". They tell you that it's somehow superior and they don't know any more than anybody else.

I remember learning that and having the realization that it [00:27:45] was all a story about what it means to be from Stanford and what it means to have this kind of degree. And she was like, they have invested i e the Academy and all the leaders of it, all of what they have into that story.

They're not going to let you break that story [00:28:00] apart. So stop complaining, get to work and use it. This was the height also of my political activism. I was busy hanging out at Alcatraz on Thanksgiving. I was, mad at everybody. So I was definitely mad at the Academy for selling a false bill of goods.

And [00:28:15] what was true and what my elders reminded me was you have to be twice as good to do half as well. So you need to just get it and get on with it and stop all your fussing and I needed to hear that. And I am glad. I listened and managed to finish. 

Mya: something that [00:28:30] jumps out at me is, to Britt's question about perspective now on the decision is early on in your academic origin story, you talked about taking that break and doing sort of your quote unquote cab driving years and the preamble was, you're not supposed to [00:28:45] talk about this or you don't really talk about this with people, but, at the end you're talking about, the credentialing.

And so when we think about the stories that we share with people and how we talk about these experiences, it's very clear that for you, there's no embarrassment, there's no shame about the [00:29:00] different direction that you took. And would you say you've always felt that way or is that something that you've been able to craft over time? 

Lisa: I've definitely crafted that... embarrassed doesn't even begin to capture!

On an Eclectic Career Journey [00:29:11]

The thing you never do on a resume, right? Is leave a [00:29:15] bunch of gaps or you never say that you were only one place for a year and then you left. I spent the early years of my career apologizing, explaining, justifying  Okay. So yeah, I was a faculty member and then I went to [00:29:30] work for the public schools and ran a grant. And then after that, I went to work for a really large human service agency and did evaluation and risk management. And then some there, and all of these stints, when you look at my LinkedIn page or my resume, it's wait a second. You were only there for two years. And then you went [00:29:45] here and then why did you go there?

And why did you turn left here? And why did you turn right there? And I spent a really long time trying to figure out how to explain that to people until I got to this point in my career where things started to fit together in my own mind. [00:30:00] But that took a while. And I remember doing an interview with somebody.

Who was at the Harvard law school. And they were doing this amazing work at the intersection of law and education, which, I had the law thing way back there and I'm like, Oh, wouldn't that be cool? It [00:30:15] sounded like a really cool job. And I went to meet with the gentleman who was running it African-American man.

And, we're having this very formal interview, despite it being academia, which I don't think of as being super formal, but he was very formal. And he said to me, so explain your eclectic [00:30:30] career trajectory. I was like, I'm sorry, what my, what? I've been calling it a hot mess. And he's explain your eclectic career trajectory.

He gave me language. I never described my career path that way. I saw my [00:30:45] career path as random and opportunistic. And somebody referred me and I took a job and so when he said that I'll never forget, I had to laugh in that moment. And then I started to tell a story about my career in a way that I had never done before.

And I [00:31:00] started to be able to talk about the thread I'm a person who's always trying to focus on what's the thread of your story and can people hold onto it as you tell it. And what became clear to me was that I had been on a journey to understand, and to learn how, in [00:31:15] particular, the world worked in this place, we call the nonprofit sector.

I didn't know it at the time, but when I looked up after probably seven years or so, I was like, Wow. Look at that. I did a bunch of direct service work and as I did direct service [00:31:30] work, I wanted to better understand how you run organizations. And then I wanted to understand how they got funded and because we were always hamstrung for money.

And yet we had all the state funding and private funding, and yet we still couldn't take care of all of these kids. I was like, [00:31:45] what? Okay, what don't I understand about that? So then I got a job in philanthropy and so it started to make sense to me, it started to make sense that I was both trying to understand this space, but also find my place in it.

And what did I have to bring to the table that [00:32:00] was of most value. And I started, roll up the sleeves and get my hands dirty in the work of working with people directly and providing services, and then found myself in that space of trying to influence the people who control the money that made it possible to do the work.

And that [00:32:15] story started making sense, but it took a long time. It was not something I left BC with clarity on at all. And until that gentlemen asked that question in that way, I hadn't really pulled it all together. And then once I pulled it all [00:32:30] together, that sense of that to your point about like the embarrassment, the shame and Oh, I knew I didn't do what I was supposed to do, I didn't become a full professor, I didn't do...  went away. It just was like, yeah, this is it. And it's awesome. And I'm having a great time. And it was very freeing. but it took a while. [00:32:45] Yeah. I didn't start there. 

Britt: So then if you don't mind me posing the question at this juncture, in your trajectory, how would you describe your eclectic career? In a hundred words or less. 

Lisa: Oh, you're funny.

[00:33:00] Okay. Career path focused on the systems and structures that play a role in our ability to make the world a better place. And on that path to really trying to understand [00:33:15] those systems and structures and how that all happens to make the world a better place and lots of different ways that it needs to be made better.

I have had the experience at lots of different places in those systems and structures, which now inform what I do in [00:33:30] philanthropy. So it's almost like I was on a path to get here, but in getting here, I had to do all the stuff. Cause if you don't do all the stuff, you don't understand the stuff.

You don't understand the systems and structures, if you don't actually try to work within them. And to try to push against them [00:33:45] and to ask questions about them and to critique them and all those things that I learned in graduate school about analysis, about critique, about data, about still logistic logic have been incredibly valuable skills for me, trying to make sense out of all of this, and then coming to a [00:34:00] place where the way that I now do philanthropy is in full knowledge of all of that and that's been my path That's how I got here. 

Britt: Thank you. So in listening to your story, and then also through our conversations over the years, I it's interesting because I'm [00:34:15] hearing what you've shared and thinking about some of the qualities that perhaps create some of the building blocks to assembling your current self, or even that were present along the way and how those have maybe been amplified over the years.

So it's this curiosity coupled with, a very [00:34:30] profound intensity that is intersected with this passion, or this bringing that whole self into something, which is connected to the intensity, of course, but then coupled with this recognition of pragmatism or being [00:34:45] opportunistic.

And deploying whether it's the credential or the connections or the knowledge you've acquired. And over a lifetime, those become greater and have larger significance. But then you've maintained that curiosity and intensity and whole self. [00:35:00] And so if you were to pivot and go into school administration or something like that at this point I would imagine that those qualities would still be very present the curiosity, the intensity, and just diving in with your whole self, but then also realizing okay, I also have [00:35:15] these.

assets that can be brought to bear this thing. And so when I hear you at 22 and having that same curiosity, but then that more wild intensity and wild sort of whole self and then having less [00:35:30] opportunities around you, but then that's where maybe those elders and those voices that you respect came into play and then filled those gaps.

Lisa: it's funny you talk about the intensity, cause I I think you're accurate. I actually really like that encapsulation I that you just did, when you [00:35:45] talk about the intensity, the thing that flashes across my eyes from my memory are a couple of occasions where that intensity came to the forefront and where I think drove some of the choices that I made, right? So I remember protesting the Klu Klux Klan as an adolescent in the [00:36:00] Glendale public library and being fierce and my intensity and how wrong they were. And then in college, fighting against apartheid and, sitting on the White house steps with all of my peers, screaming about disinvestments.

And I have always [00:36:15] had a very strong sense of right and wrong that I think I got from my father. My father was the kind of person who, didn't feel he needed to state his expectations because they should have been obvious to you. And I think that sense of what is right, what is wrong, what is [00:36:30] just, has always been something that has fueled me.

And has driven me to the places where I feel like I can contribute in that way. But yeah, intensity is a great word for it. And now I'm in philanthropy and I literally [00:36:45] just had a conversation with somebody who was like, wow, you just spoke truth to power in a session about philanthropy in a way that I've never heard before. And I was like what do you expect me to do? Of course I did. isn't that what I'm supposed to do, I think that is a part of [00:37:00] who I have brought to the work that was very informed by my father. Who he was and how he expected the world to behave. And when it didn't, he would be intense.

On Joy [00:37:09]

Mya: you exude to me a sense of joy and contentment and [00:37:15] fulfillment. The amount laughter that pours out of you It's great to see because, for most people who've gone through careers in academia, even without There are very few people who either sit in places where they just feel fulfilled or joyful or [00:37:30] whole in, not broken and not to say that you haven't had those experiences, but, to have them that reflected out from somebody who's had an eclectic career trajectory or, who's had different types of struggles, but his, been seen [00:37:45] as having a very successful career as well.

And you said you attribute your sense of right and wrong to your dad. Where would you say that you find or what is the source of what I interpret as joy and fulfillment in how you are [00:38:00] presenting?

Lisa: A great question. I don't know. I, as an African-American woman in this world in this moment, Mya I'm fairly sure. I heard you nodding when I did the reference to the twice as good [00:38:15] as, like we've spent our entire lives, trying to get somewhere, our parents were you need to get an education to get somewhere and to be somebody, I'm 53 ish. I've got two grown kids, one who's 16 and continues to keep me [00:38:30] grounded and reality. I have the pleasure of being able to own a home and a place that is beautiful. And that fulfills me from a natural resources perspective. birds and trees and and I have a job that is a job I picked.

It's not a job I [00:38:45] had to take. I was employed when I got this current job, I was on my hands and knees, working with college students, trying to help them survive running a nonprofit with a colleague and somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said, Hey, would you like to do this? And I was like, yeah, no, I'm employed.

I'm good. Thank you. I have a [00:39:00] mission. I have a focus go away. And they were like no, really you should want to do this. I'm like, why would I want to work in a family philanthropy? Haven't you heard how crazy those places are?  It was not what I thought I wanted to do. And as I got to know the trustees and I got [00:39:15] to see where they were in their focus.

And I got to imagine what it meant for an African-American woman to be a part of the decision-making for millions of dollars to go to organizations. Like the one I was working in and I had a girlfriend who smacked me around and was like, are you [00:39:30] nuts? You better take that job. What's wrong with you? And I was like, I already have a job but and she was like no.

you have arrived. People are asking you to do something that only you can do and the way that you do it and they want [00:39:45] you, it's not like you're begging them for the job. They're bringing you to come to this job. I had never had that experience. I never been in that experience before.

And So I think some of the joy you're maybe hearing, or some of the ease with which I'm able to [00:40:00] reflect on this stuff comes from being at a particular place in time where I do know and have confidence in what I can and can't do what I do know how to do. And when I don't know how to do what I'm good at what I'm not good at and what makes me feel really good about [00:40:15] what I can contribute.

And I get to do it in a space that feels really good and well supported. I think that's part of it. if you had been talking to me 10 years ago, I don't think it would have been the same. I was still trying to find my place and still trying to figure out [00:40:30] what was me versus what was, what people wanted me to be.

And I'm now at this place where it's this is who I am, take it or leave it and I'm doing the best I can and it has to be enough. Cause it's all I got. and to your point, it's not been without struggles.  I tell people who reach out to me for [00:40:45] career advice from time to time and I'm like, I've been fired, have fun but just wipe yourself off and you get back up and you go find another job.

Everybody has had their low points and the high points. But you got to keep at it and you gotta pull the stuff out of it that [00:41:00] really makes you tick and makes you feel good because otherwise, when I was at Boston college, you find yourself weeping every Sunday night. Cause you don't want to get up and go to work and wants that life.

I never want to go back to that. But that was me trying to tell me this isn't you, [00:41:15] so you need to get on with it and go find you. And it took me a while to listen to me. But now I'm yeah, this is it people. And and I'm super grateful to be able to be in this place because it's not guaranteed that you get here.

Mya: I don't know if you've [00:41:30] found this to be true, but. A lot of times when people will push back and be like, Oh, you can't say that, or you can't do this, but what I'm learning is that there will always be people who will want to work with people like you, people who, speak truth to power [00:41:45] or people who say things unexpectedly, and people positively receive it that way. 

And one of the things that I tell people is, people who are meant to work with you will find you.

And so and that can be encouraging. Cause most of the time you hear, Oh, [00:42:00] you can't, you have to hide who you are or, don't offend people because that's, what's going to make you successful. But sometimes it's the opposite. 

On Holding the Tension between Generations [00:42:07]

Lisa: It's interesting because I think that the thing that right now I'm finding super challenging in my work is associated [00:42:15] with to your point, the people who people found me and the spaces that I'm in, where I speak, what I think have been very encouraging and supportive of me continuing to do that. And the other part of my job in philanthropy is incredibly [00:42:30] stealth and incredibly under the radar. And while I'm out here saying all kinds of outrageous things that people can't believe, I'm saying I'm also still working in a philanthropy where the power structure is what the power structure is and where I have to work in [00:42:45] relationship with my trustees together to negotiate how we are in the world.

that's not just me talking crazy. And I think what is tricky these days is that. The people who I was 20 years ago, 30 years ago are really railing against the fact [00:43:00] that I also have to do that, but I also have to play that game and be myself and sleep at night and hang on to my integrity because they want it to be like ripped off and wide open.

And I have a lot of mixed [00:43:15] feelings about that. And I try really hard to support basically the mini MES who are running around being the activist that I was a hundred years ago, but that you also have to learn to work within the containers you're in. If you hope to change the shape of those [00:43:30] containers and some people want to blow the containers up, but I'm like more power to you. you light that fire. I need that too. But if we don't all want to live in chaos 24 seven, we also have to figure out. How to be ourselves as much as we possibly [00:43:45] can be stealth and influencing the systems that suck and bring joy to the work so that you get up everyday and want to go.

So it's it's a, both. And it is really an interesting moment to be navigating all of that with folks who are rightly [00:44:00] trying to make us do better that's what every generation is trying to do. And now being at this point at 53 and like talking to people who are in their twenties and thirties and trying to figure out how to both support, where they see the world needing to go and help them have a job and [00:44:15] get paid and eat, whatever else they need to do is a really interesting dance. It's a really interesting dance. Yeah.

On Changing the Academy [00:44:22]

Britt: So if you had an opportunity to wave a magic wand and change one or two things about the Academy what would those be?

[00:44:30] Lisa: anything we say we value we should be willing to pay for. And it always frustrated me to great ends that while I got a free degree and I'm super grateful for it. Everybody should be able to get a free degree. it should not class what it costs to go to graduate school. It's [00:44:45] like the training of our teachers or the training of our medical doctors folks who go get their advanced degrees.

Aren't messing around. That's not an easy choice to make if you're going to make that kind of commitment, the world should commit in kind. And I would definitely figure out how to go back to [00:45:00] those days where even a master's degree you could get paid for nowadays. You can't get out of college without a lot of debt, let alone go to graduate school. And I just feel like it's one of those hypocrisy is that we have in this country that makes me a little crazy. And that could do something about if we actually valued it. I often wonder if we [00:45:15] actually do 

I think the other thing I would probably change about the Academy, I was recently you're on a panel where folks were busy, trying to figure out how to help students have real world experiences for how to value real world.

I was like, seriously, we have to have [00:45:30] a symposium on this. There are plenty of universities, like Northeastern that have already figured this out. Let's just do what they do in spades. We don't need to do a research article on how real-world experience has helped people learn how to think and grow this already.

So if I get changed, one thing about [00:45:45] academia, when I was at Stanford, I taught part-time at community colleges at San Jose state. And that was just to make money. And then I was a consultant on the side. But that work experience. And then I also worked at the law school at cafe, but all of those experiences, fed me in a way that informed [00:46:00] my work. And, I think if the Academy could just stop talking about it, like it cares and actually build it into what it does. It would be amazing the kinds of stuff that you would get out of that. And from really smart people who just need to be supported [00:46:15] better for doing what they do and doing what they know how to do, and then getting all those tools that we got in graduate school. 

the last thing I would throw out there is that it would be really nice if the Academy could figure out how to employ more people of color. I think I had one Japanese American. I don't think I ever had an African-American. [00:46:30] Professor when I was at Stanford. I don't get that. And I think that's easily fixable and would enhance the learning of the students who go to graduate school and into academia in really significant ways that, we don't seem to worry about it until [00:46:45] you get into the real world of work and suddenly people want to talk about diversity, but in academia we I don't know if we want to diversify the student body, but we don't really want to diversify the faculty or the staff in a way that is meaningful and represents the world we live in. I think we're missing a beat on that.

Give me that magic wand. I want that [00:47:00] magic wand. 

Britt: If anybody's going to find it, I think it might be you.

On Navigating Life as a Whole Person [00:47:04]

Mya: You've used the term a number of times in your responses, in the conversation about being a whole person. And whether that's in your professional life [00:47:15] or in graduate school and the characterization that you had of intensity and passion. There also is what I heard as resilience. But to your graduate experience. Do you feel like you were able to [00:47:30] navigate grad school or even your early career as a whole person? either, in your work life and your school life and in your personal life too, you talked about you had somebody that you loved who lived in Delaware and so you were moving to DC and [00:47:45] to me that indicates considering your life outside of all of this, which a lot of people don't do. And it was just very interesting to me. I was like, Oh, she was thinking about this outside too. And so I was wondering if that's something that you felt like you were able to navigate as a whole [00:48:00] person? 

Lisa: I think when I was in it, I was just doing it. when I look back on it I see it a little differently. When I made those choices to take leaves of absence and go do these things, I even spent a semester in Costa Rica studying Spanish and thought about becoming a Spanish teacher, [00:48:15] but when I was living it, I think it was much more spontaneous and reactive than it was me intentionally thinking about all these parts. I think all these parts were there and they were coming at me and then I would make choices and they weren't always the best choices, but I would just make [00:48:30] choices.

Because it was a responsive, reactive kind of thing. And  I think I was fortunate to have the elders you spoke about and a safety net that came from, having graduate school paid for me. I didn't have to worry about that.

I got a job so I could eat outside of my [00:48:45] tuition, but it wasn't a risk I feel like the risks are mitigated. And I think I also grew up in a household where I was made to believe that if I made a mistake, there would be somebody there to pick me up, even if it wasn't.

[00:49:00] But I think I was led to believe that. And so that when I would take these leaps of faith, when I would like, okay, I'm going to go get a job and okay, I'm going to go live in Costa Rica with nobody. I knew nobody. I think I did have this sense that yeah, but it's going to be fine, and I have these friends who [00:49:15] always tease me because if you look at my resume, I haven't stayed anywhere longer than three and a half years. Like I'm currently in my longest job ever. And I've become predictable in my itch. And then I get up and I go somewhere else. And I have several friends who were just like, I could never [00:49:30] do that.

I could never isn't that scary. Somebody asked me once and I was like what's the worst thing that's going to happen? I'll becoming unemployed, which I have been before. And I will be on unemployment, which I have been before. And I'll find another job which I have done before. There is a certain amount and maybe it's [00:49:45] wrongly felt, but that it'll be okay.

It may not be what I necessarily always want it to be, but it'll be okay. And and huge fan of that poem that talks about, when you jump off the side of a mountain, you'll learn how to fly and that's faith. [00:50:00] and that doesn't mean that it's always great.

you will stumble and fall, but you'll get back up and you'll do it again. And the next thing you find might be even better. And yeah, I don't know. I definitely though when I was in it, I was just reacting and trying to [00:50:15] be myself, trying to listen to myself and not ignore myself. it's really hard to listen to yourself when you're in something like academia or any sort of structured environment where all the rules and norms are being spoken to you [00:50:30] as gospel. And you're what if I want purple instead of blue?

And they're like, no, it has to be blue. And you're like, with lavender. And I'm going to turn it left. Who does that? And I just would be that's what I'm going to do. And it'll be fine. And I've had people yell at me [00:50:45] about making those kinds of choices. I'll never forget leaving a place in which the woman was you're never going to find,  I wanted to do more in the organization.

I wanted to grow my responsibilities. And she was you just need to do your job. And  I'm thinking we could be better if we did it after that. And she was look, you're never going to find a place that's going to pay you [00:51:00] better. So you need to just settle down. And I found a job that paid me better and I left and I was like, what are you talking about? Of course, I can find a job that pays me, but I have a PhD from Stanford. Are you nuts? But that was me listening to me and knowing that there was more I could do, there was more [00:51:15] I should be doing and you don't get to do this. This is not or world. And maybe that comes from my father who decided mid career to go get his law degree and, which was crazy, but I've always felt like it will be okay. I'll be all right.


Wrapping Up [00:51:26]Britt: We've come to the end of our time together. And I [00:51:30] want to thank you, Lisa for making the time to talk with us and share from your long and eclectic history about the various learnings that you've had. I've certainly learned a lot of new things about you, which I really appreciate but thank you so much. 

Lisa: I want to thank the both of you for your questions. [00:51:45] This has been really fun and thought provoking and Yeah Hey, thank you. I appreciate that. 

Mya: What I'm learning from all of the conversations with our guests is that I just want to go to visit [00:52:00] all of you wherever you are, and go outside for a walk or have a cup of coffee and just talk some more, 

Lisa: That would be so fun to do that with you guys cause I feel like you've thought so much about these things and yeah, we should do that as soon as we possibly can. Let's do that. Yes. 

Britt: That's [00:52:15] going to be our first advertiser opportunity.  Podcast walks, brought to you by Cafe Ladro in Portland where the walks are enhanced by a strong cup of coffee.

Lisa: That's great [00:52:30]

Reflection [00:52:35] Britt: Now we have an opportunity to start our reflection what's coming up for you Mya? 

Mya: I think I'll go back to my point about The ability to reflect [00:52:45] on the experience in one's career in a way is not just contemplative, but also something that you can respond to with laughter or with joy, that her journey comes across as being, something that [00:53:00] she's not plagued by, that she's not bogged down by, but that she's able to appreciate. And also. Like our other guests is also willing to share, missteps left turns intentional unintentional choices in a [00:53:15] way that I think, is unique.

And might I say what's special about on our podcast!

Britt: You are certainly welcome to say that. I've always enjoyed Lisa's a joy, but mostly her quick to laugh personality. But also the [00:53:30] undercurrent of intensity and seriousness that I think in many ways defines her. And that was so present in our conversation today, which I deeply appreciated that she was.

able to share all her trajectory with us. I didn't have an opportunity to ask the question or to call attention [00:53:45] to it. But when she was saying, being in her early fifties, and it really wasn't until about 10 years ago that she felt. That she had the ability to feel at least comfortable with her eclectic journey. Still that is very much early forties.

And I [00:54:00] know that from my experience whether it's grad students that I work with, or perhaps young professionals looking to  shift their career or feeling just a bit of drift that knowing That all of us are working through this on a consistent basis. And that it may take until [00:54:15] well into, let's just say your fifties to gain some level of clarity or our comfort with the different things that have felt off track at times.

So whatever energy anxiety, and of course, this is easy to say much harder to do whatever anxiety or [00:54:30] energy that goes toward that worry. Perhaps can be tempered a bit because the expectation that you would have that at that point is perhaps ambitious.

Mya: Yeah, the eclectic career trajectory is, when she said, somebody finally gave me the words to be able to [00:54:45] articulate, what has been the pattern in her career it also resonated with me because I had felt like that. I've had to make choices about different types of jobs and also the, her three and a half year itch.

I used to have a two year itch where every two years I was changing [00:55:00] jobs or doing something different. And again, feeling the need to have to explain that to somebody or have it make sense to somebody else. And being in my early forties I actually am approaching or have been at this point where.

I do see how that all works together. Or [00:55:15] a lot of these seemingly disparate things are coming together to work in a way that like her, I'm not apologizing for this is me. This is who I am. These are the experiences that I have, and this is what I can bring to the table. And [00:55:30] to feel like I'm in the right time I was like, Oh, yay.

I'm doing this at the right time. That makes sense. Was just a nice reflection to be able to see that and hear that too.

Britt: I appreciate the pragmatism around the degree and the acknowledgement [00:55:45] of what it's enabled her to do, the doors it's opened and the ways in which it's enabled certain eclectic things to happen, perhaps. I know we didn't get directly into that, but I suppose in some ways my hope would be for. Doctoral students who listened to this [00:56:00] podcast that they are able to find some level of inspiration and endurance from some of these conversations that help them to get it done because as we know. Over half of people who start doctoral programs do not finish them.

And I don't know that's an intentional [00:56:15] practice by higher education, I certainly hope not,but yeah, well done, I think is important. And if the academic life is not for you, certainly there are a lot of opportunities out there that can make best use of. The training that you get, whether that's in education psychology or what [00:56:30] have you have.

So stories like those on this podcast, I think are meant to serve as inspiration. That there's a professional realm of fulfillment, but even more importantly, a personal one, because I wish I could have asked the question of, do you remember when you realized [00:56:45] Oh, this is not going to work? This is no. And just that clarifying moment where it was no going back and I would have enjoyed hearing that. Not that there has to be one of those, but if there was one, I would have enjoyed it. 

Mya: I appreciated  the intentionality in her [00:57:00] career, but then her ability to reflect and see some of her reactivity in her early career in graduate school.

And to hear and see the shift and hear her talk about jobs that she picked. And one of the questions that I [00:57:15] had going in was about the decisions and intentionality. And just to see, the mix of the kinds of decisions that happened some that she made in response to things, but then others that she made intentionally and to see where they took her and how she was able [00:57:30] to make use of those decisions and where they put her in the opportunities that they placed in front of her Was good to see, because I think a lot of times, like I said, we, make decisions or we respond and decision-making and there's value in both. And there's utility in [00:57:45] both. And to the broader point, I there's purpose in both. And so if you can use those opportunities to do what you need to do, regardless, it's not sometimes I feel like we focus so much on the making of the decision and not what the decision-making [00:58:00] allows for you to do.

And so in the nature of her conversation, that shifted a little bit for me. So it wasn't so much about the decision, but about how those decisions positioned her in different ways for different experiences and opportunities. 

I think my last thing that I would add is her [00:58:15] sentiment about it will all be all right. There's a hopefulness in that. I hear purpose in that too. And that resonated with me as faith and trust in, that there's a reason why things happen.

There's a reason why I'm feel like I'm being drawn to [00:58:30] this or doing this. And she talked about, if you fall off the cliff or, you face plant it will still be all right, because you can still get up from that. You can still continue and go on. And that mantra of it'll be all right.

landed with me as a faith and a trust in whatever it is that you're [00:58:45] doing and whatever journey that you're on that Was encouraging and just nice to hear. 

Britt: If we had more time, I would've really enjoyed listening or learning more about her parents too.

Sounds like some very accomplished people and [00:59:00] having those, her dad has an MD and a JD and her mom has a PhD. It's quite a shadow to grow up 

Mya: nice pedigree as they say. But one of the questions that I had early on was about, education and what that meant to her [00:59:15] and to be raised in that kind of environment.

And to hear her describe what that was like and how she made her way to graduate school and even in the way that she talked about it it was very clear that so many things in her life revolved around [00:59:30] education whether that's personal learning, whether that's learning or growing with other people formal, informal, et cetera. 

Britt: Well, another very enjoyable conversation and look forward to the next one. 

Mya: Yes, me too. Let's keep it going. [00:59:45] [01:00:00]