THE
FOUNDER’S
JOURNEY

From a love of nature to sharing with others to making a good living. How do we turn our deepest passions and interests into a comfortable lifestyle? Can we pay the bills with our true gifts and talents? And just what is our true nature? I share my story with you, not to say look at what I have done, but if what I learned on my journey can help you live your true nature, then it is a story worth telling.

THE GIFT OF A TREE

Most kids get a baseball mitt, train or a gift wrapped in bright paper for their 11th birthday. I got a Magnolia tree from my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Stanley! With great pride and excitement, I took the sapling out into the yard and dug a hole for it outside my bedroom window. I loved the Magnolia the way some kids love a puppy. We grew up together. I might put on an inch or two in a year, and it would grow a foot, two feet, and more the taller it got. I cared for it over the years with water and mulch and love, and it had shown me a simple dedication to life,the unassuming practice of natural growth. The Magnolia taught me to be humble, patient, kind and caring, as loving another often will do. A year after the gift of this tree, my parents planted two eight foot tall Green Ash trees in front of Travis Elementary school in San Antonio, Texas. One for me and one for my brother. These early experiences shaped my love of nature and charted my green and leafy course in life.

summer camp

I will start this story with camps since they had such an impact on my life. I treasured going to summer camp. Each summer for eight years I could hardly wait to pack the locker and know that I would be spending time in the woods hiking, camping and being in the community of others. The singing, the campfires, canoeing, archery and crafts fed my soul. After five years of being a camper, I was hired to be a counselor at Camp Champions in Marble Falls, Texas. Teaching sailing, trampoline, crafts and being a part of the camps was a summer job dream come true. All summer I was on a lake sailing, horseback riding, walking the dry river beds and being a leader to ten campers during each three week session. There, I met the legendary man: Hondo Crouch.He carved spoons, had a pet deer and falcon and was truly himself. No doubt he was living his true nature. Throughout our lives we meet people that deeply inspire us. While at camp one year, he gathered his friends Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson who wrote the famous song "Luckenbach, Texas" and put that small town on the map. The slogan was "Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach!" There was a mailbox on top of a 30 foot pole with a sign that read Air Mail while the sign on the general store said "Sorry We're Open!" It was fun, it was alive and I was part of all of that. 
I remember another time in June of 1969, Neil Armstrong dropped off his son, Ricky. In July, the air force helicopter arrived and picked Ricky up and took him to Houston to be with his family. Everyone at the camp gathered around to watch a small black and white TV as his Dad made one giant step for man, one giant step for mankind! The memory of my camping days still brings me great joy!

college

I attended college at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Although enrolled in the business school, my interests were more in astronomy, geology, art, art history, environmental studies, creative writing and Greek literature. Amazing teachers inspired me for a lifetime, not only with what they taught, but with their passion for the subject. The advice I gave to my daughter as she entered college was to seek out all the best professors no matter the subject and take courses from them. The tree-lined campus of Washington U was built for the 1904 World's Fair; it was wonderful and set the stage for learning. I found a way to bring the business school and physics department together by proposing an internship program where I would restore the historic Alvin Clark telescope built in the mid 1800's and reopen the university observatory after it was neglected for so many years. Another top ten college experience was my internship at The 7UP World Headquarters. The way I landed the internship would change the course of my career. I waited outside the headquarters atlunchtime and watched as many of the 1100 employees filed out of the front doors. I could identify the sales, accounting, research, executive, advertising and marketing people by their dress and demeanor. I noticed one man who seemed to be so alive and almost glowing! I gathered the courage to walk up to him and say "I had put my intern application in at the personnel department—" and before I could say anything else, he said "That was your first mistake." I looked at him and found the words to say, "I would like to buy you lunch!" He looked at me, paused for the longest while, then said "Where do you want to eat?" We shared a lunch that would open up a new world to me. I learned he was the director of Advertising ... The Mr. UNCOLA! This was just at the beginning of the highly successful UNCOLA campaign that forever energized the soft drink world. After lunch he invited me up to his office and offered me a three month internship. I gladly accepted! Another great example in my life for thinking (or should I say drinking!) outside the box.

PART ONE

THE GIFT OF A TREE

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Most kids get a baseball mitt, train or a gift wrapped in bright paper for their 11th birthday. I got a Magnolia tree from my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Stanley! With great pride and excitement, I took the sapling out into the yard and dug a hole for it outside my bedroom window. I loved the Magnolia the way some kids love a puppy. We grew up together. I might put on an inch or two in a year, and it would grow a foot, two feet, and more the taller it got. I cared for it over the years with water and mulch and love, and it had shown me a simple dedication to life,the unassuming practice of natural growth. The Magnolia taught me to be humble, patient, kind and caring, as loving another often will do. A year after the gift of this tree, my parents planted two eight foot tall Green Ash trees in front of Travis Elementary school in San Antonio, Texas. One for me and one for my brother. These early experiences shaped my love of nature and charted my green and leafy course in life.

I will start this story with camps since they had such an impact on my life. I treasured going to summer camp. Each summer for eight years I could hardly wait to pack the locker and know that I would be spending time in the woods hiking, camping and being in the community of others. The singing, the campfires, canoeing, archery and crafts fed my soul. After five years of being a camper, I was hired to be a counselor at Camp Champions in Marble Falls, Texas. Teaching sailing, trampoline, crafts and being a part of the camps was a summer job dream come true. All summer I was on a lake sailing, horseback riding, walking the dry river beds and being a leader to ten campers during each three week session. There, I met the legendary man: Hondo Crouch.He carved spoons, had a pet deer and falcon and was truly himself. No doubt he was living his true nature. Throughout our lives we meet people that deeply inspire us. While at camp one year, he gathered his friends Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson who wrote the famous song "Luckenbach, Texas" and put that small town on the map. The slogan was "Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach!" There was a mailbox on top of a 30 foot pole with a sign that read Air Mail while the sign on the general store said "Sorry We're Open!" It was fun, it was alive and I was part of all of that. I remember another time in June of 1969, Neil Armstrong dropped off his son, Ricky. In July, the air force helicopter arrived and picked Ricky up and took him to Houston to be with his family. Everyone at the camp gathered around to watch a small black and white TV as his Dad made one giant step for man, one giant step for mankind! The memory of my camping days still brings me great joy!