A Modern Day Leader Who Knows How To Inspire

A Modern Day Leader Who Knows How To Inspire

One of my favorite things is to interview leaders who rock.  Those who realize that a truly great leader helps to encourage, inspire, and motivate.  Those who have fundamental respect for their employees and co-workers. Dr Kellie Warren, CEO of Florence Crittenton is one of those leaders.  She calls herself a ‘walk around leader’.  She doesn’t sit in her office with the door shut.  Warren wants to see what is going on, engage with her employees, solve problems, and achieve success — not just for herself, but for all those who work at Florence Crittenton and the girls who come there for help. In our interview, Dr. Warren tells me what is most important for her is to work with purpose, and to elevate those around her to do the same. How Not To Be A Victim Of Your Past with Dr. Kellie...
Organ Donation Saves Lives

Organ Donation Saves Lives

It is such an honor today to receive the Media Partner of the Year Award from Donor Network of Arizona. Over the years, I have covered dozens of stories about organ donation. It is something I am very passionate about. I’ve covered stories about people who make the decision to become living donors, and stories about families who, in the midst of heartbreak, find strength in giving the gift of life. The picture above is with a woman who lost her four year old daughter suddenly and tragically. By donating her organs, the family saved a four year old boy from Minnesota. I was there when the two families met in Arizona. As a journalist, this is the kind of story that sets my heart on fire because it is a story about the strength of the human spirit. Nothing is more inspiring than to see people dig deep, overcome pain and grief, and make life...
Three Acts of Kindness That Saved A Life

Three Acts of Kindness That Saved A Life

“I was just waiting for someone to turn their back on me.” 16 year old Eddie stood on stage and poured his heart out (not easy for anyone, let alone a teenager to do).  He talked about the father with PTSD who was off his meds, abusive, and out of control.   The mother who disappeared from his life.  The uncle who was a raging alcoholic. By 8th grade, Eddie had bounced from one home to another.  When his father got remarried, there was a glimmer of hope that things would get better, but that hope faded fast.  As things progressively got worse,  Eddie was forced to sleep outside without food.  He was starving and scared.  Until the day a stranger reached out to him. This was the first act of kindness Eddie says saved his life. A man saw him wandering on the street and stopped to ask a simple question, “Are you okay?”  He took the boy into his home, fed him, and called for help. It was a sign that someone cared. After that, Eddie moved from relative to relative.  He ended up back under the same roof as his alcoholic uncle.  Eddie says at that point he began spinning out of control.  He was both using and selling marijuana.  He said that he expected, in a few years, he would either be in a group home, locked up, or as he put it, a ‘blood stain on the sidewalk.’ Then came the second act of kindness. A neighbor offered to open his home to Eddie.  After all of these years, he finally had a stable place...
The Plastic Bottle Project

The Plastic Bottle Project

Every great movement starts with a simple idea. For Desirae Rocha, the idea came in the form of a plastic bottle. Rocha is not your average 27 year old. She represents the best of what it is to be young, ambitious and full of light-the-world-on-fire spirit. She is the West Valley College-Going Counselor for a non-profit called Be A Leader. They provide FREE resources to get high school students into college — let’s just start there. This is a crucial, grass-roots effort. They give students the tools they need so they are not intimidated by the process. College should be available to all who want to go, and who are willing to put forth the effort. What she does day-to-day is help teenagers plan a future. But Rocha, being the ambitious young woman she is, wanted to do more. She set her sights on cleaning up campuses around Phoenix. She came up with a community service project that ties together clean-up, recycling, and feeding the hungry: The Plastic Bottle Project. Rocha put her contacts to use, enlisting the help of high-school and elementary students to collect and recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans.   Students from Phoenix Union High School District, Tolleson, Aqua Fria and Peoria all agreed to help (yes, there are a lot of great kids out there). ASU also signed on with an assist from the Hispanic Business Student Association and El Concilio — a Chicana, Latina leadership organization. After all, this is what leadership looks like. Money raised will feed the hungry and homeless at an event in Phoenix on March 28th. Rocha is putting together lunch bags with sandwiches, snacks,...
Dance of a Lifetime

Dance of a Lifetime

People have asked me over the years how I handle reporting so much bad news. I’ve worked in TV news since college and I have reported on many tragedies.  Too many.  I’ve driven home in tears more times than I can count. At the same time, I’ve covered the incredible depth and strength of the human spirit. People often don’t know how strong they are until the time comes. For 10 year old Ella Parkhill and her family, the time is now. Ella was born with an extra vein in her heart — a condition called PDA. Her mom, Carly, tells me the size of the vein was misdiagnosed by several cardiologists. Carly and her husband Chad refused to rest until they got to the bottom of Ella’s medical condition and the mysterious symptoms that continued to surface. Ella’s feet were blue in color, and in 2013, a friend suggested that the family have her growth hormone tested — since she was small for her age and had severe developmental issues. It turns out, Ella’s PDA is actually 7 times the size of what doctors originally believed. She has what’s called Eisenmenger’s Disease. In non-medical terms, Ella’s heart and lungs are working overtime and there is no cure. Her mom told me that despite this ongoing health crisis, they ‘live a mainstream life without limits for her.’ Ella has two younger brothers, ages 8 and 5. The family takes each step in this journey together. A close family friend told me that Carly’s children are reflections of the ‘spirited and intense love she has for them and for life...