Reminiscences About My Past
I owned my first business when I was six or seven years old. It was a lending library, because even then I loved and owned books. Copying the concept from a private library store, I made pockets and cards and charged the other kids in the neighborhood a penny a day. Not only did I get rich (for my age) I made lots of new friends.
While in Elementary school which was a block away from the local F&W Woolworth’s (five and dime store) I learned that they discriminated in hiring and didn’t hire African-Americans. I convinced many of my schoolmates to create an economic boycott – which we did until they changed their hiring practices.
Years later, after graduating High School early, I started my working career and rapidly rose from file clerk to receptionist to secretary to bookkeeper to assistant credit & collections manager and finally, while still in New York City, before ever starting college, I started the first ever Customer Service Dept. for an International Sales Organization (IPCO) and managed the department. Thus I was in management at a time when it was very rare for a woman to be in management – especially one as young as I was at the time, without a college education.
During those years I was a volunteer at the Bronx Veteran’s Hospital, where I worked with locked psychiatric patients, paraplegics and quadriplegics. I was mentored by the head of the Psychiatry staff and allowed to do real hands-on help. We started what later became the wheelchair basketball league.
Moving to Los Angeles I became an efficiency expert straightening out messed up bookkeeping. inventory and other systems, creating more efficient and effective systems and then training others in the use of the new systems.
When friends of mine wanted to move into the apartment building where I was living, we learned that the landlord discriminated against African Americans. My friend Georg was black. I convinced all but one of the other tenants to sign a petition threatening to leave unless they changed their policy. They did and Georg and his friend moved into the upstairs apartment.
Finally, when I moved to the South Bay here in California, I entered college nights and worked days. My employment over those years – which actually felt like a hundred years (I have two master’s a doctorate and post-doctorate education) was full time days during a variety of work in a wide range of settings. The experience I gained was invaluable to my current career as a consultant.
While in school, I was afforded the opportunity to teach at the graduate level. Through the years I have taught dozens of different courses in several of the universities here in California. Among them graduate courses in psychology, management, leadership, marketing, business development, organizational development and human resources.
In 1981 I formed my consulting firm, Diamond Associates in the heart of the fast growing semiconductor industry and we serve many people and companies here in Silicon Valley.
Among my personal accomplishments during those years was to support the Jewish community by creating a series of seven programs called “Breaking Down the Walls of Fear and Hate.” These ran one night a week for seven weeks and accompanied the series of photographs taken by a German Soldier during World War II of the horrors in the Warsaw Ghetto. Our programs earned the Human Relations Award that year.
In the eighties while being the Managing Partner at Diamond Associates, I went back to school to earn another master’s degree and my doctorate in Psychology. I also took advanced courses in Organizational Development Psychology.
Since my early teens I have been involved in helping others both privately and in community service and have served on dozens of boards, starting with student body and B’nai Brith Youth where I received invaluable leadership training. I’ve served as President of a variety of professional associations and non-profit organizations and currently serve on Advisory boards for associations and a corporation.
My love of learning – my love of books – my love of helping and teaching others led to my writing hundreds of articles and several books, four of which have been published and are being purchased internationally. They are: Leading and Managing a Global Workforce, Conflict in the Workplace: Causes and Cures, Training Your Board of Directors, and The Please and Thank You of Fundraising for Non-Profits. Other books are being finished.
As I look back on my life my time has always been shared between learning, teaching, earning money and working to help others in significant ways.