Houston Be Someone

(Not clear who) Whenever I see the now Houston iconic “BE SOMEONE” graph I think how perfect it is for Houston. Kind of vaguely encouraging, calling forth ambition. And I’m also reminded of the brilliant and funny Lily Tomlin (stand up, Broadway Lily, not the series LT) whose commentary never ages. Lily said : “All […]

Handle Your Elephants

This past month I’ve been working like mad to pull together reports and proposals for clients. I have a small team and we’re all buzzing. There’s building a business and then there’s doing the business. I love all of it. especially my purpose now – to support leaders in the arena – People hire me […]

Starting Places

Five years ago, Judge Ed Emmett rang me up as I was juggling two phones trying to get information about which of our centers were flooded and which were dry. As then CEO of BakerRipley I was thinking past the immediate emergency of drastic flooding and stranded people, trying to inventory what assets we had […]

About Ideas and Thinking

A good part of my time now is spent learning, teaching and writing. At Brown, it’s kind of my job. Yes I’m also doing consulting work but even that work, done well, involves learning, teaching, writing. There are mornings I wake up and think, “I’d rather get a pickup truck, work gloves and Clorox and […]

Faith and Hard Work in an Era of Upheaval

(part of a series from the “Shipwrecked Project”)There are many definitions of a hard childhood. By any definition Mario had a hard childhood. A childhood shaped by deprivation and struggle. Mario did not have a complete understanding of the reasons his father abandoned his children and his wife. Though his father at one time served […]

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR …. well … nothing

UPDATE: 47 deaths thus far I am in awe of the scale of hubris, greed and neglect that produced this disaster. But every aspect is very “on brand” (as my son would say) for Texas. I predict there will be an inquiry and reports galore. And some years from now, just like the sequence after […]


Houston. Harris County. Being a blue city/region in a red state is really dangerous. If we forget to unite the region in concerted actions – the actions that protect and strengthen us – it will cost us. It’s costing us now. It’s completely fair to say that the virus threat is different in Houston than […]

This is long and boring. About my home and my trees.

The canopies of this water oak and live oak have grown together and now shade the new deck my son built for me. That boring town home used to be sky. I planted both of these trees shortly after I moved to this house in 1996. I had lived a few blocks away in a […]


2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 One of our early Houston founding families supported the creation of settlement houses and community centers, because, as he said, “neighbors should live as friends”. I just recently returned from Germany. A country leading the struggle to welcome newcomers, to make a place for over a million Syrian refugees. German […]


(sort of, except for, kind of, unless, if, but for, not those…)What follows are convo snippets – every one captures the gist of a conversation I’ve had in the last two weeks. In the weeks ahead will see behaviors that reflect every one of these positions and conditions. You can decide now how you’re going […]