Category Archives: Leaders in the News

I AM Tonight April 22 in Chicago with TOM SHADYAC

 Yesterday I commented, “we run and mange about 15 blog sites. Most of them make money…Official Life By Design, does not. But we try to keep it up to share with others, ways to grow in life. The stuff they DON’T teach you in school.”

We have a PASSION for this site and sharing knowledge that helps us grow as spiritual beings. That’s why I refuse to close this site. Money or not.

And after that post, I  happened to see Oprah  yesterday, who had on  Tom Shadyac, a famous, rich  movie director.  Who has a life-changing movie out this month, I AM.

He had millions of dollars, 3 houses, private jets, but knew he was not happy.  We have become a society of WANT WANT WANT and forgot why we are here –  and what REALLY makes us happy.

In his latest project, a documentary entitled I AM, Shadyac asks some of today’s most profound thinkers, two questions – What’s wrong with our world, and what can we do about it? This moving, inspiring film won the Audience Choice Award and the Student Choice Award at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride Colorado, where it premiered.

I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better?   

   In I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.

Armed with nothing but his innate curiosity and a small crew to film his adventures, Shadyac set out on a twenty-first century quest for enlightenment.  Meeting with a variety of thinkers and doers–remarkable men and women from the worlds of science, philosophy, academia, and faith–including such luminaries as David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson, John Francis, Coleman Barks, and Marc Ian Barasch –  Shadyac appears on-screen as character, commentator, guide, and even, at times, guinea pig.

3 big points –




It is really  as  MUST SEE movie for everyone.

You have heard about doomsday coming?  December 21, 2012?  Well, I don’t believe it’ll be like the movie 2012!  In fact, Shirley Maclaine was  on TV last week and she see’s it as a huge global shift of sorts –  not so much the explosion of the world as we know it. A New Age interpretation of this transition postulates that during this time, Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.

And it’s funny,  the tagline for I AM is  the SHIFT is About to Hit the Fan!

I think this recession has brought so many of us to our knees, for a reason. To re-examine our lives and what’s next? and what is really important. It so funny in my business, there is so much “competition”. Yet I approach “competitors” and see the synergy of working together; collaborating. But some small minded  people only see competition. We are here and connected – to COLLABORATE.  Get it?!

TONIGHT!  Friday April 22  in CHICAGO

AMC River East 21 Q and A with Director Tom Shadyac following
the 7:00pm and 9:40pm on Friday, April 22!

I AM – The Documentary    

Famous Fido Animal Rescue in Chicago

It’s so hard right now-

So much going on in this crazy world, and so many who need help.

Humans and animals. Where do you give? I don’t know the answer -I wish I was Oprah and had gobs of money to give all of those in need.

In Chicago, Famous Fido Rescue & Adoption Alliance was founded by Gloria Lissner, owner/operator of Happy Tail’s/Famous Fido’s. In addition to grooming and boarding, Gloria has been a devoted dog rescuer for 40 years. In fact, with 19,000+ animals being put to death annually, Gloria specifically formed FFRAA to collaborate with others to end Chicago animal homelessness and death.
Chicago needs to become a NO KILL CITY.

Of course, money is needed to help care for, clean, feed , rehabilitate and find homes. So Gloria, who is also a dog treat manufacturer, is soon launching a cookie campaign. But in the meantime, still funds are needed to help her with her workload.

She really is doing an amazing job in Chicago. If you have a couple extra dollars this month, perhaps consider her campaign.

A dog will love you for it!

Help Famous Fido Online

Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago Unveils 53 New Spa Guestrooms and Full Kate Somerville Spa Treatment

Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago Unveils 53 New Spa Guestrooms and Full Kate Somerville Spa Treatment

The Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago offers plenty of room to relax…  Sounds like just what I need!

Sumptuous 600-square-foot guest rooms to the more than 1,000-square-foot suites – sunlight pours through the ten-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, offering stunning panoramas of Chicago.

Modern kitchens feature top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, sub-zero refrigerator and Snaidero wooden cabinetry.
The luxurious limestone baths provide deep-soaking tubs and state-of-the-art showers. Custom vanities, a 42-inch LCD HDTV and complimentary wireless Internet complete the experience, with a staff at your service for any additional need.

On September 1st, the Trump Hotel and Tower Chicago will unveil 53 new spa guestrooms of complete rejuvenation and respite connected to the Kate Somerville Spa at Trump to pamper guests in true over-the-top Donald Trump-like fashion.

The rooms feature full in-room treatments, a healthy minibar, yoga kits, a whole menu of Bath Packages, and spa amenities and toiletries that evolve with the seasons.

As guests are led to the spa guest room by their Spa Attaché, who will customize the guest experience from start to finish, they will be enveloped by a custom spa scent in the corridor and soft music playing overhead. Upon entering their room, they will find inspiring city and riverfront views, gentle earth tones, light oak woods, fresh orchids, ambient candles and a music library.  Thats it, I’m booking a room!

Trump International Hotel Trump Tower Chicago

 Kate Somerville Spa Chicago Turbo Tagger

Buckingham Fountain’s $25 Million Renovation Details Announced This Month

Buckingham Fountain’s $25 Million Renovation Details Announced

The Chicago Park District approved a project to undertake a
$25-million restoration project for Buckingham Fountain in February and the details were released earlier this month. The project will be the most comprehensive restoration yet undertaken on the 81 year old landmark. 

Chicago’s famous lakefront fountain is set to undergo the overhaul closing Sept. 2, about two months earlier than last year.  The renovation is the second time in 15 years that the fountain will be required to close.

“It’s an icon for the city and it deserves this attention to ensure it has another 80 or more years,” said Michael Fus, a preservation architect at the Chicago Park District.  In 1994, a $2.8 million project repaired the fountain’s three smaller, central basins.

This time, the larger outer basin, which is leaking thousands of gallons of water a week, will undergo the same treatment, Fus said. He said he hopes the fountain ends up using half the water it currently does. 

According to Michael Fus, the goal is to have the project done by April 1, 2009 when members of the International Olympic Committee visit Chicago. Chicago is one of four cities bidding for the 2016 summer games.

Officials are considering a more dramatic lighting show that would coordinate with lighting installed along Congress Parkway.

They’re also debating between new lamps that show sharper colors and the yellowish, more romantic hues of the current lights. 

The restoration also includes treating the fountain’s bronze sea horses and fencing. Park officials are considering replacing the loose pink gravel at the site with precast stone and concrete pavers.

Landscaping and the planting of trees will more closely mirror the original plans by Edward H. Bennett.

The Buckingham Fountain Restoration Plan will be paid with park, city and possibly state funds as well as $1 million generated from the Lollapalooza music festival and $8 million from an endowment for the fountain (the reserve fund set up as part of the original endowment for the fountain by its benefactor – Kate Sturges Buckingham), officials said.

Buckingham Fountain  Buckingham Fountain Restoration Chicago Park District  Michael Fus Kate Sturges Buckingham Lollapalooza Turbo Tagger

Organic School Project Brings Good Food and Nutrition To Chicago Students

Imagine a school…

where when you walk in the door, it smells like home cooking.

In the cafeteria, children are eating made-from-scratch, locally and sustainably grown foods—a feast of whole grains, bright green vegetables, and freshly sliced fruits.

Plate waste is minimal. The students like this food.

Then they rise from their seats and walk to the trash receptacles – there are multiple ones: one for compost, one for recycling and one for waste. They know what bin to put every part of their meal in, and the meal’s biodegradable tray and disposable packaging.

After eating, the children go outside to the school garden and see some of the food they just ate growing in the garden. They planted some of those foods, they helped care for them.

WHAT A CONCEPT!  The Organic School Project is the creation of Greg Christian. With a culinary career spanning over 25 years and as owner of Greg Christian Catering, Greg Christian Organics and Get Me Greg’s, Greg brings considerable knowledge and passion for food to OSP.

We’re the only organization bringing together hands-on gardening, organic food preparation and meal service with health-related curriculum and scientific evaluation.

This combination of interactive programs is designed to engage children – along with their families, school staffs and communities – in growing, learning about, and preparing the food they eat.

A unique collaboration of educators, public and private-area gardens, farms, food retailers and suppliers, parents, community organizations, cooking professionals and health care professionals, OSP seeks to reconnect the Chicago community with their food source.

OSP is a non-profit organization currently making this a reality in 3 Chicago-area schools.

Read the  Organic School Project Blog !

chicago leadership leadership chicago organic school project Turbo Tagger

Leadership in New Orleans – Brad Pitt Helps Make It Right

Last night, while watching IDOL GIVES BACK, they highlighted several great programs that are happening around the world. Programs that started really out of frustration for lack of government concern.  Everyday people and celebrities are now taking leadership roles with idea’s that can and will  make a difference.

As we know, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. The slow reaction to the initial emergency and to the ongoing crisis exposed troubling realities about the response capabilities of the American government when the citizens of our most culturally diverse city were in desperate need of help.

When Brad Pitt visited the Lower 9th Ward for the first time after the storm, he was shocked by what he saw: the remnants of people’s lives strewn across the streets and an entire neighborhood torn apart and turned upside down. Pitt was even more disturbed by the lack of a clear plan to address the situation. Many were quietly saying there was no chance the Lower 9th Ward would ever be re-built.

Inspired by the courage and hope of the residents he met, Pitt resolved to do whatever he could to help them rebuild. Just as importantly, he wanted to help recreate and nurture the unique culture and spirit of the Lower 9th Ward, which symbolizes the soul of New Orleans. He understood instinctively that a New Orleans rebuilt without the Lower 9th Ward would never be whole. MAKE IT RIGHT was  born.

He began by working with Global Green to sponsor an architecture competition aimed at generating ideas about how to rebuild sustainably. Pitt worked with local community leaders as well as experts from around the world to develop viable ideas for the Lower 9th Ward. That successful project inspired Pitt’s new focus: Make It Right.

The Mission of Make It Right is clear: It is to be a catalyst for redevelopment of the Lower 9th Ward, by building a neighborhood comprised of safe and healthy homes that are inspired by Cradle to Cradle thinking, with an emphasis on a high quality of design, while preserving the spirit of the community’s culture. The goal is to accomplish this quickly, so that the first residents can begin returning to their homes as soon as possible.

Without Pitt’s dedication and concern – this would NOT be happening. In all likelihood, government officials would be standing around bickering about what to do.

Idol Gives Back Foundation is a new not-for-profit organization established by the producers of American Idol and FOX to raise money and awareness for children and families living in poverty and at risk in the U.S. and abroad. Idol Gives Back Foundation is harnessing American Idol’s ability to capture America’s hearts and the power of entertainment to benefit some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.

Groups like this and  ONE, are going to change the world. WE CAN make a difference!

brad pitt idol gives back make it right hurricane katrina one Turbo Tagger



What would you do if you were handed a bundle of cash—and told you have to give it all away?

Challengers on Oprah’s Big Give, a new series by Harpo Productions that will  begin airing on ABC Sunday, March 2nd, have to face that very difficult question.

10 People from across the country are given a wad of cash and challenged to help total strangers so that they can feel the high of giving.  Over eight weeks, we follow their every move, and in the end, the biggest giver wins! $1 million to the one who gives the best. Givers are judged on creativity, leadership and accomplishments. And someone will be sent home! “Give big – or go home!” say’s O.

Oprah will have designer pal Nate Berkus as co-host but also Jennifer Aniston, John Travolta, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donald Trump, and a few of Oprah’s other pals will be around to lend a hand.

The “pay-it-forward” themed  show will be a cross between The Amazing Race and Extreme Home Makeover. And get out a box of tissue! It’s said to be an emotional roller coaster ride!

“It’s always fun  for me to be able to give and watch people’s reactions. I love a great surprise. And I wanted other people to have that feeling of what it feels like to give back,” explained the TV queen.

“What I know for sure is that most American’s really are giving. We’re the most loving, caring people, concious of others and how they feel. I know that’s how people really feel. We wanted to show how one person can make a difference…and do it in an entertaining, fun way that people will watch.”  said  Oprah.


Oprah Nate Berkus BIG GIVE reality TV HARPO Turbo Tagger


i.c.stars executes on its mission by providing IT career programs and services that strengthen the leadership potential of inner city young adults in Chicago.
i.c.stars offerings focus on providing social and economic value to participants, communities and industries.

7 years ago, i.c.stars began it’s first training Cycle amidst the dot com boom. Slowly, the industry took a turn.
However, today, i.c.stars is still training future technology and community leaders!

Tucked inconspicuously inside a trendy Chicago loft in the upscale River North district, known for its art galleries, chic restaurants and tech startups, i.c.stars is a three-month boot camp designed to develop computer programming skills, business savvy and leadership. – Writer Michael Bitoun Blecher did a great article about ic stars for Graduatingengineer.

Volunteers are always needed!

leadership chicago chicago leadership i c stars Turbo Tagger

EBONY Magazine Recognizes Top Black Chefs with The 2nd Annual “Taste of EBONY” Event in Chicago

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EBONY Magazine presents the second-annual Taste of EBONY next week, a premiere culinary extravaganza featuring leading African American chefs, restaurant and food industry experts from across the country.

The Taste of EBONY celebrates the unheralded contributions Blacks have made to the world of culinary arts. It further serves as a catalyst for people of color, particularly a younger generation, to view the many facets of the food industry as a viable path toward pursuing prestigious careers.

From Chicago to Los Angeles to New York and beyond, 20 food industry experts will offer a diverse array of culinary creations. Participating alongside the best of the best, celebrity chefs from TV One, The Food Network, Discovery Home, and Bravo’s Top Chef will offer a wide variety of dishes.

“The Taste of EBONY shines the light on the immeasurable contributions of leading Black chefs from around the globe,” said Linda Johnson Rice, President and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company. “African-American chefs and restaurateurs have established a solid history in the food and wine industries, and EBONY will provide the necessary platform to showcase a vast amount of incredible talent.”

The evening entails a culinary show and tasting hosted by Bill Bellamy of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and TV One’s Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes. Bellamy will intertwine his comedic talent with the culinary cast and attendees throughout the evening during this special segment.

Co-Chairs Marcus Samuelsson, celebrity and executive chef/TV host and owner, Aquavit, New York, G. Garvin, executive chef/TV Host, Turn Up the Heat – TV One, Los Angeles; and Jeff Henderson, NY Times best seller/executive chef, Las Vegas will present the Culinary Show.  Charlotte Lyons, EBONY Magazine Food Editor and Author of The New EBONY Cookbook is the event’s culinary director.


Other Taste of EBONY featured participants include:
Leon Baker, pastry chef, Farrah Olivia Restaurant, Alexandria, VA; Warren Brown, Food Network host of Sugar Rush and owner, CakeLove and Love Café, Washington D.C. and Silver Spring, MD; Sterling Burpee, chief culinary officer, Culinary Training Academy, Las Vegas; Jacqueline Cholmondeley, executive chef, Always Accolades Catering, New York; Timothy Dean, executive chef/owner, Timothy Dean Bistro, Baltimore; Brian Duncan, wine enthusiast/co-owner, Bin 36, Chicago; Robert Gadsby, executive chef/owner, Bedford Star Group, Houston; Steven McAfee, executive chef, Parrot Cage, Chicago; Andre Mack, corporate sommelier, The Fireman Hospitality Group, New York; Morou Ouattara, executive chef/owner, Farrah Olivia Restaurant, Alexandria, VA; Darryl Petty, owner, Blu 47, Chicago; Cliff Rome, Chef, Parkway Ballroom, Chicago; Connie Rousseau, executive chef, Connie Cooks, Fort Lee, NJ; Allan Vernon, owner, Vernon’s Jerk Paradise, New York; Tre Wilcox, executive chef, Bravo TV’s Top Chef contestant, Cuisine of Abacus restaurant, Dallas; Melba Wilson, owner/proprietor, Melba’s Restaurant, New York and Marvin Woods, executive chef/TV host, Home Plate, Atlanta.

The Taste of EBONY is sponsored by: EBONY, Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler, TV One, RR Donnelley, American Airlines, Viking, American Express and Swanson.

EBONY magazine, the No. 1 magazine for African-Americans, is published monthly and reaches over 12 million readers with each issue. Published by Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., the largest Black-owned publishing company in the world, EBONY was founded in 1942 by the late Publisher and Chairman John H. Johnson.  Linda Johnson Rice is President and CEO, and Eunice W. Johnson serves as the company’s secretary and treasurer.

Discovery Acquires Treehugger Site

Discovery fits these criteria to a T.”

* They reach 1.5 billion (yes, billion!) cumulative subscribers around the world with top quality, often nature related non-fiction content

* They have commitment from the top of the company for over $50M to create content including programming for the world’s first 24 hr green channel and in addition have allocated significant budget aimed at building the leading green web portfolio on the Internet

* They already have web properties serving hundreds of millions of pageviews per month

* They are looking to the TreeHugger team to help drive the direction of their green efforts online

“By teaming up with Discovery, we believe we can more effectively play a critical role in this mission.”

Discovery Treehugger Green Turbo Tagger