About Me

Thursday, June 13, 2013


The past two weeks were wonderfully invigorating because of a “flying car”.  No, I don’t mean Fred MacMurray’s car in The Absent Minded Professor nor do I mean Dick Van Dyke’s car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Flying Car is the metaphor evoked by the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) Initiative.  Flying Car is the metaphor for a technology or idea that revolutionizes the world.  Flying Car Milwaukee 2013 was held from June 1-10, 2013.  If you did not hear about it this year, you missed a wonderful blend of creative talent, industry, and community.  I applaud the Greater Milwaukee Committee and all the sponsors and organizers for this awesome series of events. 

Flying Car, presented by the Greater Milwaukee Committee's Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) Initiative, is an annual destination event to inspire minds with the year's brightest technological advances and empower them to launch their own world-changing ideas into the marketplace. Formerly known as Milwaukee Innovation Week, Flying Car 2013 takes off for ten days of workshops, networking, pitches, and our signature gala.
Inventors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and members of the future-loving public are invited to create—and celebrate—a better tomorrow in our positive, retro-50s environment.”

On Monday, June 3, 2013, the Creative Alliance Milwaukee hosted a presentation by Dr. Dennis Cheek which sparked the importance of collaboration in Greater Milwaukee though embracing all of its diversity.  We had a breakout session after the presentation that generated renewed enthusiasm and action plans for what will make us a unique metropolis driven by economic development.  For further information, contact Maggie Kuhn Jacobus, President and Executive Director, Creative Alliance Milwaukee, mjacobus@creativealliancemke.org

Also, check out Flying Car Milwaukee on Facebook! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happiness at work

About three months ago, I organized a cross-functional brainstorming session of colleagues at work to determine new course ideas for continuing education.  After listing all of the ideas, with the help of a smart student, we arrived at a mind map of the ideas.  The outcome was a course on Positive Psychology that will be offered during the summer as an evening class.

In the process of finding an instructor for that class, I came across a book called “Happiness at Work – Maximizing your Psychological Capital for Success” by Jessica Pryce-Jones.  The author’s research compared unhappiest and happiest people at work and found that the happy people are 180 percent more energized, 180 percent happier with life, 155 percent happier in their job, achieve their goals 30 percent more, and contribute 25 percent more. 

The author is quick to note that happiness at work absolutely isn’t about always smiling, thinking positively, or about being in a permanently sunny mood.  In fact she says that is patently absurd and does not work.  “It involves a mix of high moments accompanied by some low ones, a journey in which you grow and flourish, and at the same time overcome your negative emotions.  And you can do that best when you use insight and reason to help you.  Sometimes the tasks, resources, outcomes, and time-frames are clear and comfortable, sometimes they’re not.  But the tough stuff results in learning.  Because that’s when you have to struggle to perform at your best, or make a breakthrough in what you’re doing.  So extend yourself and fulfill your potential.” 

Achieving your potential is the key.  The author notes that there are five clear factors which are called the 5Cs at the core structure of happiness at work.  They are (i) Contribution – your effort, (ii) Conviction – your motivation no matter what the circumstance, (iii) Culture – how you fit at work, (iv) Commitment – your extent of engagement, and (v) Confidence – belief in yourself and your job. 

The inner tier of the 5Cs consists of Pride, Trust, and Recognition.  If you are proud of your workplace, you will also trust your colleagues and leaders and vice versa.  Pride is about the value of your work and trust is your faith in the organization.  Recognition is about what you get back from your work. 

Finally, the happiest people work are 47 percent more productive that their least happy colleagues.  “In concrete yet conservative terms they are contributing a day and a quarter more than their least happy colleagues. Per week.”

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nelda's wisdom

I visit the Washington Park Senior Center every first Wednesday of the month during my lunch hour.  My hour is devoted to anything related to brain fitness.  We do not have a fixed agenda or any content that has to be covered.  It grows from our interaction and I lead by encouraging the interaction with an environment of friendliness and empathy.  I have grown to love my regular attendees and they love me back.

Nelda is my favorite attendee.  Tiny, twinkled eyed, and sharp - Nelda cautions me not to say that she is a bit older than me but than I am a bit younger than her.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I have become attached to her.

About five or six years ago, Nelda started to attend my mind aerobics sessions.  At the time, I would go there whenever convenient.  Nelda is the one who insisted that we should meet more often and since then I have been diligent about my first Wednesday visits to WPSC.  Seldom have I missed a visit and seldom has Nelda missed attending a session.

Last week, I told Nelda about my thoughts about what I wanted to recapture from my twenty five year old me and when I would like to carry forward to my eighty five year old me.  She encouraged me to journal my thoughts and advised me that these journal entries would help me in my journey forward.

Nelda, thank you for this wisdom.  I thank you; my twenty five year old me and my eighty five year old me thank you too!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Listen to Your Heart


Do you want to listen to what you want in your heart?  Are you afraid that your head will not agree with your heart and that your heart will get disappointed?

Is this what tears you apart in those difficult moments?  Is this why you are afraid to listen to your feelings?  Feelings are the pathway to your heart.  If you block the road to your heart, nothing can reach your heart, and your heart becomes separate from your head.  The head starts ruling you and makes you forget about your heart.

Your focus turns to the thoughts in your head rather than listen to the longings in your heart.  How will you start listening to the longings in your heart once again?

Remove the blocks to your feelings and open a pathway to your heart and wants.  Remove the roadblocks. 

Do you know what you want?  When did you stop knowing what you want?  What did you cast yourself adrift?  When did you stop doing what you want?  When did you become a drifter in life? 

Take control of your life by learning to listen to your wants and act on your wants.  By doing what you want, you feel satisfied and complete.  If you just do, without purpose of satisfying a need, there is no satisfaction or closure.

You deserve to listen to the goodness in your heart.  Your goodness is real and your beauty is real.  You are good and deserve the love that your heart craves.

Get pulled into your heart and listen.  Listen well.  It has been a long while for you.  There is a lot to hear.  It will warm the cockles of your heart.  You have been cold and distant for too long.  Awaken the spirit in your heart.  Discover your longings and you will find that they are pure.  Feed the longings and you will emerge as a champion.

Rekindle some warmth in the cold cockles of your jaded heart.  And why is your heart tired or exhausted?  It is tired of trying to get your attention.  Pay attention to your heart.  Find the song and dance in your heart.  Share it with the world.  You are special and you should share your joy with the world.


Find out what you want and go for it.  Connect with your heart to find out what you want.  Your heart is special and needs attention.  You are special and need attention.  And you are a winner and will activate your success mechanism and achieve spectacular success.

Monday, January 28, 2013

An Experience worth remembering!

My New Year 2013 began with a spirit of adventure and service.  I traveled to Guatemala to participate in a project designed by Engineers without Borders (EWB) – UWM Chapter.  I spent a week in a small village called Visiban located in the Mayan region of the Cuchumatanes Mountains in Northwestern Guatemala.

The team consisted of two professional mentors and six UWM students.  Their project this time was to build a Spring Box.  Most springs in a mountainside do not have a steady or adequate flow rate. A Spring Box is a structure engineered to make optimum use of a natural spring.  It functions as a point of collection of water and also to protect the spring water from contamination. The EWB team had designed the Spring Box and they oversaw its construction by the local masons. 

The team also educated the local population about the importance of clean water and the need for good hygiene related to water.  The outreach involved relationship building with the village elders (la committee), speaking in Spanish, communal living in one room in a school house using sleeping bags, no electricity and usual amenities, and slippery terrain in the mountains at an altitude of 10,000 ft. where it rained often.  Temperatures were in the 40s at night and 60s during the day.

The Spring Box was successfully built and a steady flow of water was achieved from it.  The next phase is to build a Holding Tank and then to pump the water to the village at about 600 ft. above.  This is an unusual approach due to the lack of power infrastructure.  Most of the Distribution Tanks built by EWB in this area during the past five years use gravity fed water distribution.  In this village, there was no choice but to use a spring at a lower altitude and to pump the water up.  Here, EWB will need a significant amount of sponsorship to pump the water up to the village of Visiban.  A fund raising event will be held on Feb. 23, 2013 by silent auction beginning at 3:30pm in the Union Building at UWM.  For details, please contact me at Tel: 414-227-3121 or email me at mvedula@uwm.edu