Through conversations over the years, there have been two women who helped shape my perspective as to why MEN alone can’t save our world, and why WOMEN shouldn’t have to sacrifice recognition for their contributions. An abundance mindset can empower how WE as a collective, can EACH make history, TOGETHER!
Historically, especially as a Generation X woman, I’ve noticed that it has taken the sacrifice of the generations of women before me, to create and make possible, opportunities for future generations of both women and men. The lives of Nobel Prize winner, Physicist and Chemist, Madame Curie (two time winner and first person to win in two different scientific fields); Olympic and Hall of Fame Athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias (Track and Field, Basketball and Golf); Former First Lady, Diplomat and Activist, Eleanor Roosevelt; NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is still in her position today, took various paths to achieve their vision, but all journeys were consistent with the notion that in most cases, they would never receive the same level of recognition for an equivalent amount of hard work and accomplishment than their male counterparts.
Now with new generations on our planet, Gen Y, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha, we are entering a unique time of innovation, invention and paradigm shifts due to the merging of our analog and digital worlds into a phygital future. History can teach us a lot, and it characteristically repeats itself. I believe with the latest ‘stay at home’ measures because of COVID-19, individuals of all ages and cultures are actively breaking the cycle of a zero-sum game or scarcity mindset as we engage in a new level abundance mindset in order to literally ‘save the world’. Regardless of gender, race, or intellectual, social and financial status, it is a first time in our history, that the SACRIFICE OF EACH individual has made POSSIBLE, a collective effort of humans ‘working’ TOGETHER. It has given us the gift of being empowered as ‘one’ in battle for humanity.
As scientist, artist and producer/entrepreneur in my early days … to strength coach, inventor, and exponential entrepreneur today, I wanted to shed light on two amazing women, who have been ‘with’ me during the most difficult and yet rewarding past five years of my entrepreneurial life. Aside from my Mom, these two women are the constants in my life, almost daily, never letting me down, while also never letting me ‘get down’ or ‘stay down’ too long during my most challenging times. We don’t live in the same city, or even the same state, but somehow the conversations by phone, flow with emotional and intellectual clarity across the vast miles.
My late father, Dr. Umesh Khare, was born on April 9, 1936. It’s no mistake that Nina Paranov Fagan is but one day shy of the same birth day and year, and Annette K. Lynch shares exactly the same day. My Dad supported four strong women (i.e.: wife and 3 daughters) during his lifetime, so I felt it was a perfect week to further celebrate people with us still today, by spotlighting two incredible women during their APRIL BIRTHDAYS:
Music Mom as I call her, Nina Paranov Fagan turns 84 years old on the eighth. (below)
Coach Annette K. Lynch about ten years younger, has a Birthday on the ninth. (below)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Nina and Annette!
The only meaningful gift I could come up with, in this time of COVID 19 with stay-at-home and distancing measures, was to tell the world about their historic achievements and legacies. Understanding more about Nina’s and Annette’s childhood years, shaping them as pioneers and trail-blazers in their fields of music technology and sports, respectively, has helped to give me perspective on how I ‘fit in’ with all the generations living today. There is a humility in realizing what I have in common with them, and what I have yet to to achieve. Making history is one step, creating a legacy is a result of another level of work. Probably the most extraordinary quality about both Nina and Annette, is that they are still motivated to learn and grow in an exchange with any generation. A valuable example of how the mentor or teacher can also become the mentee or student in order to gain a better sense of what we can take from the past and add to the present, in building ideas or concepts that can sustain over time for a brighter future.
The commonalities I found between myself and these women, I looked up to, made me feel closer to them, and honestly, trust them more. My Dad, Dr. Umesh Khare, was a Girl Dad who married my Mom, Kanak, an independent thinking and adventurous woman. I discovered that both Nina and Annette also had parents and families with the same dynamic. We all shared how our Mothers were incredible problem solvers for their daughters. Our Mothers found ways to make it possible for their girls to have the same opportunities as the boys, and even try new things. Having parents who valued and encouraged a passion for education and constant learning was a key element to growth and development. When presented with an obstacle or hurdle, being created was imperative. So with that instilled fervor for seeking knowledge and new experiences, an endless source of possibilities instilled an abundance mindset at a young age.
It however took a little nudge from our Moms, so get our Dads to agree to some of our ideas. That’s where FREEDOM TO CHOOSE became a critical part of the paths each of us chose. In Nina’s case it was the freedom to buy recording equipment in 1953 and start recording live performances at her Grandfather and Father’s music school, The Hartt School of Music in Connecticut. For Annette, it was the start of her athletic training when her mother secretly saved up S&H green stamps and bought Annette her first baseball mit. After Annette tried and failed playing on her own with the boys in the neighborhood, her father, a semi-professional baseball player himself, decided to teach her how to play right…if she was going to play at all. For me? It was the day my Mom asked my Dad if I could shift from studying pre-med at University, to instead, try studying music and singing.
Personal performance was critical as a first stage to milestones achieved for both Nina and Annette. Nina as a music recording engineer, and Annette as an athlete. However, education became the second most critical factor in establishing a path to both pioneering and historic level accomplishments. They both took on the role of educator as they continued to forge other parallel careers in their life. Nina established the recording studio at the Hartt School of Music with her own studio space in 1963, that inevitably became the place for a program to train students. Annette was recruited, after she graduated from College in physical education, as one of the first women coaches recognized under Title IX. For Nina and Annette, those milestones became the seed planted by each, that would continue to impact many generations to come of artists and athletes, respectively.
I met Nina when the recording studio was transitioning from analog to digital. She had the vision of archiving performances, and to this day, it was a gift to all the musicians who recorded to analog tape, as they now had a digital equivalent that could keep over a lifetime. Nina established a foundation that grew with a commitment of over 50 years, to leaving a legacy of the foundation to one of the top recording studio programs in the country.
Her legacy didn’t end at the studio, as she continues to mentor former alumni like me, still 26 years later. Her personal challenges with cerebral palsy also gave her insight into the revolutionary work I was doing in human performance optimization and injury prevention. She understood from personal experience, the science and the application of my training. Then when I decided to digitize my method, that was Nina’s cue to start me on the right path to establishing a new perspective in thinking. I am forever corrected in thinking a lady in her eighties didn’t have anything to offer me when I transitioned to the world of apps and gaming. It was truly history repeating itself going from analog to digital, and she had the fundamental pieces of the puzzle that I would need to address, for success.
The Hartt School of Music celebrates their 100th year anniversary this year in 2020. Nina’s grandfather Julius Hartt and Father, opera conductor Maestro Moshe Paranov, were the original founders of the school. Although Nina was the only family member to not become a Dean of the school, her love of the family and music lives on through her legacy at the Hartt Recording Studio, not just for her Mom and Dad, but for all women who pioneered as engineers before STEM even became a thing.
Annette K. Lynch, or Coach, as I call her. Was a new influence in my life soon after my father passed away. I was new to American College sports and the US sports scene in general. My favorite sports were more like Alpine skiing and less about team sports. Annette went from coaching D1 women’s basketball at Northwestern University, to establishing a lifetime catalog of work with over 28 years in coaching and coaches education, primarily with Special Olympics. She herself, before coaching at Northwestern, was also a player on the national team with USA basketball. Her cumulative experience as player, coach and now coaches educator, earned her the respect of the NBA and WNBA players as she has been ‘behind the scenes’ training athletes and prepping game coaches for the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game for the last 9 years during NBA All-Star weekend. Annette’s work with Special Olympics, even after retirement continues to flourish. Her Special Olympics Coaches Education System created over two decades ago, has smoothly transitioned into the digital age and to online platforms. It is a testament to her work, that it could stand the test of times and technologies, and still stay true to human performance optimization for the athletes. In 2019, Annette was the recipient of a United States Center for Coaching Excellence (USCCE) Coach Educator/Coach Developer USCCE Legacy Award, and was inducted into their Hall of Fame. Only 5 other people in the country have been bestowed that honor.
Why now did I have to tell the stories of these ladies? Well, I’m witnessing a new and exciting phenomenon. All generations, all ages and all genders are engaging in discussions across all performance lines and disciplines. They are freely exchanging more than ever, as our digital age is globalizing. Within a single conversation, the mentor becomes the mentee, and the teacher becomes the student. Our brothers as I call the men who are involved and although not being blood-related, support us without hesitation, as they have a common passion for growth and learning. They are able to sustain conversation at the same peer level, as they are highly aware of how we support them too. The fast paced phygital experiences, with Analog and Digital worlds merged, are bringing people of all ages, genders, and levels of experience and expertise together in an organic ‘think tank’ sort of phenomenon. They are not mistaking sacrifice for suffering, because as I continue to assert, “if you play the victim, you can’t think like a hero.” Our younger and resilient leaders in the generations of Y, Z and Alpha, are those that will continue to make sacrifice for possibilities as we do, and did. The caveat is that you have to honor them for their contributions so that we can then deliver solutions, by addressing problems TOGETHER at a grassroots home to global level, and even for life in outer space.
As we make a paradigm shift into a new normal, I am convinced that it’s time to reveal how we have been working together for a greater whole, and acknowledge the benefits of bringing this topic to the surface. I think as a woman by default, I have been fortunate to have pioneered, trail-blazed, made medical history, but yet I still do not know what my legacy will be.
Patience and Perseverance don’t put you in control of time and space. However, what is true, is that ego, control and martyrdom, don’t make for success. The celebrations that should recognize more women today, will just level the playing field, allowing traditionalist men to feel how sacrificing like a woman, truly builds character, strength and courage!