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HBS Reunion (a year ahead of time). A world of opportunity

I sit in a Spangler couch. ‘It looks like an  expensive countryside hotel lounge’ my sister said when she first came to visit. It is all that except for the hotel part. Unbelievably comfortable for a solitude moment or a chat around a coffee table. Designed for both. 

I sit inside as Boston weather sticks to its reputation. 26 degrees for the 3rd day but rain has hit amidst the sun. Everyone is quick to reallocate. It is na odd environment, one where I am an outsider. It is not my reunion after all. And amongst all my strong interpersonal skills, I am still an introvert, which most people don’t recognise as truth (incl B really). Large social gatherings with people I don’t know get me exhausted. When I started going out with B, he was already out of the section ‘cult’ and I was full on my own cult. Our friends intersected in the international crowd and that was sufficient. And barely noticeable. But as I am here, with no offence, I belong nowhere. I am not in reunion but I am also not …
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Today we lost Belide

Today was a sad day for us at A Little Gesture. We lost Belide. Belide lost his life. 

I was at Pilates at the end of a tough week. After a rough start with a visit to the A&E and a bloody head with the little one, the rest of the meeting was focused on work - meetings, power point slides, initiatives, strategy, KPIs. At ALG, all I can think about are the accounts, getting them done, getting Joana trained so I can sometime start wearing my CEO hat. All mundane, all put in perspective the moment I saw the message coming into my watch. Belide died. 
I felt that was the one thing I could not add to my day, to my week. So much time spent trying to give each child an opportunity, and now this one is lost forever. 

Belide was barely 18 years old and he was part of our HIV day center. He was an orphan. A bright kid, with a touching smile. He feature in our 2015 Xmas Calendar so I can share a bit more about him: 
"Always on time at the HIV Day Care Centre, he plays a lot and he’s finally…

How Natalie helped me frame my Vision... without knowing it!

I have been listening to the Bizchix podcast a lot.
The latest and trigger for driving this letter was Episode 310. It was na On Air Coaching call with Amber Hawley, an inspired woman with multiple ideas and clearly out of breath in talking about what she wants to do. It resonated with me - outside the intense family life, the charity - working on vs in the business, the startups, the coaching, the teaching, the writing, the board seat and oh, the day job, my current career. So different but yet so similar, especially in that I don't own a business but then I really do. I run 2 charities with 6 figure turnovers. The reason it appealed to me, is that Natalie was a star about putting the anxiety of ‘oh my god what will I do next’ in perspective. There are at least another 40 years of career ahead of me. I don't need to do all my ideas in the next 5 years. Or 10 even. As new ideas will certainly emerge and take the place of the not so good ones. But there is always an urgency of…

I have a dream...

I have a dream, a dream that I can do something else.  I dream that I can create something powerful. I dream that I can be part of something meaningful. I dream that I can help people. And in my head, this dream can be one and many streams together.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be "the owner of dad's company". Somewhere there, it was always clear I would end up working for myself, even when I did not know what that meant. Today, I know what it means, and I still have not changed my mind.  For the first five year years of my career, I helped companies execute on their transactions, achieve their desired deals, evaluate opportunities to grow. Yes, I was an investment banker. And I still say this proudly. I built the discipline and systematic analytics to dig deep, think big and execute. In HBS, this all made sense as each day I got to know three new companies that I could learn about, investigate, analyse, strategize. It was this desire for critical challenge that made me e…

A country burning down

The fires are back. Climate change seems very real in Portugal. For those thinking we had time to recover from the Pedrogao disaster and take time to (yet again) plan, the 30 degrees temperatures allowing people to enjoy beach summer days in October mean the fires are also aligned with August. Or shall we say worse. Yesterday was registered as the worse day of the year for fires, and the number of casualties piled up again. It used to be that we got upset when 1-2 people were caught in the fires every year. Now we are just wishing it is not as bad as 62. In 24 hours alone we have surpassed 35 and numbers are still work on progress. People got trapped in beaches and even petrol stations (of all places). People want to avoid the roads, afraid they become another number in another yet to be named road of death.  There was public consternation after Pedrogao. But the PM found its way out with a sort of game that was only too expected from someone who was 2nd most voted but still went for a…

Weekend in Roma

I sometimes miss travelling. Though in a way feels like we never stopped. As we make our way trough Gatwick Friday afternoon and into Roma Fiumicino, I realize I do not even know where we are going. I am so used to being familiar with the places that we go to that I assume we will just as easily know in Rome.  It was painful for me to leave the kids behind, especially as I had a rough week at work and barely spent time with them. But I also knew it to be good for our mental and couple sanity to enjoy this weekend, so rather than leaving on the first late morning flight on Sunday as we usually do, we decided to spend the day in Rome.  Rome was more beautiful than I remember it. The sun and its warmth greeted us and facilitated us going around kilometres bumping into Roman empire columns or 'new' renascentista buildings. The Coliseum remains its impressive self, the Pantheons impressive construction is even more of a mistery, and I clearly acknowledge that I did not remember ho…

I thought it was just me

For #worldmentalhealthday I thought I would put it out there. Not that I hide it from people that want or need to know, but it is true that I don't put it out there as much as I could, and that does not help other people like me. I may not go as far as facebook today, but it is a start. In 2015, I entered an emotional roller coaster that looked like a spiral trending only in one direction. I was constantly sad, tired and disappointed at the world. I lost interest in many things, I did not want to be in large social gatherings,  I lost my bubbly personality. I cried a lot. It did not show at work, but it did everywhere else. Did something life changing happened to do this? I can't justify it by a single event but there were a series of individual events that were more negative than in any other year. Life was just playing tricks rather than treats that year. The week before I turned 34 was when I knew. My birthday was always something I celebrated with joy surrounded with friend…