What have you done today to make you feel proud?

“I look into the window of my mind, Reflections of the fears I know I’ve left behind I step out of the ordinary, I can feel my soul ascending I’m on my way, Can’t stop me now”

Umm what? What’s this all about? What am I up to? What is all this nonsense?

This is a ‘vintage’ song lyric (“Proud” written by Heather Small) from one GSK’s many motivational videos played throughout my 15 year journey as a GSK employee. This was the first week I truly understood what it meant to be proud beyond the words of a motivational song. This company, my company, has given me this opportunity to become an ambassador of change back where it all began for me. (Cue “In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on a playground is where I spent most of my days”…. Come on, you know you were just singing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air song!)

For the remainder of this year, I will be a Pulse Partner with the Philadelphia Education Fund. The Philadelphia Education Fund is a non-profit organization that supports the Philadelphia Public School System. Throughout my journey I will be capturing the story of my mission as it unfolds through this blog. I encourage you to follow me, like me, fax me, tweet me, whatever it is that the “cool” kids do these days….

So why now? My answer to why is simple (with a long winded description) – human thread. There is a simple, delicate thread that links us all as human beings…. The need for clean water, food, shelter, health, education (in the simplest form). Over the past several years, I’ve been more acutely focused on the waves of change that have been testing the strength of that human thread…. Just how delicate is that fiber? We’ve had civil unrest, natural disasters, political injustice, and health pandemics. And for me, I just can’t sit on the side lines any longer…. I wanted to find a way to reconnect and strengthen the human thread (no matter how big or small). For so long, I’ve created in my mind what seems like every possible excuse to not take a step out of my safe little comforts of routine regardless of how many people need help. Someone else will help them, right?! What I realized in all those excuses is that I was just scared… completely fearful of going into a space I know nothing about to try to bring some level of meaningful support and sustainable change. In reality…. And thanks to an insightful and reflective Pulse Orientation program, I feel confident and ready to take on my mission.

What about your family? Are you going to leave your house? And what about your ‘day job’? Does your boss not like you anymore? These are just a few of the thousand questions I’ve received directly or indirectly as I spent months going through the Pulse Application process and soul searching to the core and back.

Couple quick answers to the questions – (as I’m sure many have fallen asleep by now….)

  • I could never go off on a mission like this without the unwavering support of my family, especially my husband. From the day we met, he has always challenged me to go after what I believe in regardless of the logistical hurdles it will cause for us.
  • My house? A house is just a house. My home is wherever my family is and we have an amazing “Olivia Pope” caliber strategy in place to be with each other as often as possible. For the short term, I’ll be having dual residence, with Pulse residence in center city Philadelphia throughout the assignment. With the full time help/blessing of Aunt CC aka Mary Poppins…. We are going to execute that strategy better than anyone I know!
  • My day job will not be backfilled; therefore, I have nothing but tremendous gratitude to my Dream Team for covering my role in my absence – Malena Pranzo, Katie Nordstrom & Pete Sano.
  • My boss? Richard Cassidy…. Could anyone ever have a boss more supportive than mine? Doubtful. He has had a front row ticket to my rollercoaster ride of soul searching, decision making, tears, frustration, joy, laughter, and flat out respect for wherever I landed. Again, I couldn’t be more grateful nor could I leave without knowing I would be welcomed back to “gather around the Paw” with my dream team.

I leave you with the remainder of the “Proud” Song & encourage you to think about & post back to me! … What have you done today to make you feel proud?

“Still so many answers I don’t know (there are so many answers) Realize that to question is how we grow (to question is to grow) So I step out of the ordinary I can feel my soul ascending I’m on my way Can’t stop me now And you can do the same What have you done today to make you feel proud?”

Bon Voyage!

Geri/Gigi

23 comments

  1. Just saw your blog. Silly to say, I know, but I’m so proud of you. I think you have found the topic for that book you never got to finish. Xoxo

      1. wow…I’m proud to say that i know you and that you are doing so well…i wish you continued happiness and success…

  2. You will impact the world as profoundly as we all know you can.
    I’m thrilled to be a part of this unstoppable TEAM that never sits on the side lines of life!

  3. Best Wishes for a rewarding experience. You have the passion and drive enough for two people.
    Perk, you’ll be closer for awhile so we can meet for lunch or dinner. See you soon.

    1. Thanks, Kathy! Given your role in the education system, I hope to pick your brain to help me with my assignment!

  4. You go, girrlll!!! Thank you for sharing straight from the heart – you’re a powerful writer, among your many other talents 🙂 Love how you speak so honestly & authentically – it moves me & will move others. Proud to know that you’ll be a GSK ambassador, and honored to call you part of my/our PULSE family too!

  5. You are my rockstar, friend, and most importantly INSPIRATION!!!!!!!! Proud of and happy for you!!!! I can’t wait to read future blogs….continue to always inspire!

    1. Thanks, Michelle…. you know your role in my life. You inspire me and you were a catalyst for making this all happen for me. I will always be grateful for your style & approach and your constant ‘white hat’ in the midst of change.

  6. So proud and thrilled for you Geri!!!
    You have inspired many (including me!) and I bet those darling little girls are so proud of their Mama!!
    Enjoy every moment of this phenomenal journey you are on.
    Better come see me while you are in Philly– you have an open invite anytime on the Yost Patio with or without family! 🙂
    Kim

    1. Thanks, Kim! I appreciate all your support and development sessions we’ve had… your friendship & advice is tremendous value to me.

  7. Hi Geri! Such a fabulous blog kick-off! I’m here, along the ride with you, at the edge of my seat waiting for blog updates. Such a big heart you have. I’m happy to know you and your family – who rocks! All of which with their “white hats” on while they all execute the Olivia Pope strategy with the help of Lionel (Leader of the Thundercats aka your loving husband – happens to be one of my favorite cartoons back and the day- yes I did sing along the Fresh Prince song, ha!) and Mary Poppins (Aunt CC). I simply love your family and will be one of your cheerleaders along your journey. Rock on!!!

    1. I’m so appreciative that someone got all my Pop culture references, Kareema! Thanks for taking the time to read & comment so eloquently on my blog! You are a huge part of our family strategy to make this all doable, so I appreciate the love, care, and compassion you show every day for my childrean & Olivia, Lionel, and Mary Poppins!

  8. What have I done today to make me feel proud?
    Reading your post. As your mother-in-law I could not be more proud of you and your quest to help education. As a mother I could not be more proud of my son for supporting you. Six months sounds like a long time but it will fly by when you are helping others. I am also proud that GSK provides such a wonderful program. I am so glad you were assigned to Philadelphia. Going back home means you can strengthen the foundation for others growing up there. My love and support goes with you.

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