Newsflash

My Reinvention

I often tell my audiences that I am the daughter of an engineer. And this is true. But it is only half true. I am also the daughter of a hausfrau.

A hausfrau. That’s how my mother described herself in an oral history interview we did when I was in graduate school. It’s German for “housewife.” My mother had studied German in school.

She had also studied Latin, so when any of us kids were struggling with a word, she’d break it down by its Latin roots. “And if you’d taken Latin,” she’d finish offhandedly, “you’d know that.”

It’s no surprise that all four of her children earned advanced degrees: MA, JD, MD, PhD.

My mother was a teacher, and we were her star pupils. She told me she loved teaching. Said it was “her thing.”

This was a curious turn of phrase for my mother. She sounded more like a free-thinking hippie than a middle-class Catholic girl from White Plains, New York. But she deeply believed that everyone has their “thing.”

Claire Ann Daly had studied American History at a small, private women’s college, and taught high school for two years. When she got married, she quit her teaching job. That’s when she turned hausfrau. 

When I interviewed her, I was in my late 20s, living my dream. She tried to make me understand what it was like for her and her friends at that age. “I ran with the hausfraus,” she explained. “We all stayed home to take care of the babies and were good wives and that’s the way it was. Nobody questioned it that I knew of. Lucky or unlucky, I only knew people who were like me. What we did, like going out with lady friends, we did after housework and child work.”

When I was a teenager, I didn’t have much in common with my mother. By then, home had become her thing. She was all about the ruffled curtains and the spotless floors and an occasional hospital fundraiser. As a model of womanhood, it left me chafing at the bit. I wasn’t a particularly admiring daughter. I saw, and felt, how claustrophobic her domestic life was. And I hankered for something much bigger and more real.

My mother did try, once, to make a break for it. She started some part-time substitute teaching at the local high school. But my father and younger brother couldn’t bear a single unwashed dish in the sink and didn’t think to wash it themselves. She quit the job by Christmas and used her earnings to buy my father a camera. She realized then, she told me, “that going out to work meant taking two jobs.”

My mother understood quite clearly that she and my father were products of their time. “When I worked at the high school,” she told me, “if I didn’t have the tea ready, no one else was going to do it but me. And whose fault was that? The 1950s.”

And yet, I struggled for a long time to make sense of her life.

In one respect, she loved being a hausfrau. She aimed to raise four smart, capable kids, and she succeeded. She got what she told me she expected from marriage: “to grow old gracefully with a guy I thought was the greatest.” She said she had no regrets, and, you know, I do believe her.

And still, there was that road not taken. My final interview question was about what else she might have become. I will never forget her exact words, and I will never be able to describe the way she spoke them. “I think,” she said, “I would have made a good lawyer.”

Even more, she allowed that, at another, later, time, she might have approached childcare and housekeeping in a way that gave her more options.

For me, it was my father’s words of encouragement that propelled me out into his, public world. That much I always understood. It took me decades, however, to realize that it was my mother’s silent permission that released me from her domestic sphere. She was the one who gave me the newspaper clipping about the writing contest that sent me to Brazil as an exchange student. She was the one who gently questioned my decision to marry so young. “You have so much that you want to accomplish,” she reminded me.

My mother never made it out the 1950s. She hadn’t been equipped to reinvent herself. But she made sure that I was. I intend to keep on reinventing myself as many times as the ambition arises. That’s the legacy from my mother, the hausfrau.

ANN DALY PhD (www.anndaly.com) empowers women to get clear about what they want and how to get it. Before reinventing herself as a life coach, Dr. Daly was a journalist and then a women's studies professor at The University of Texas at Austin.

Social Media Killers

The current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a first-degree public relations nightmare for beleaguered BP. Whether BP can and does survive this ordeal financially remains to be seen. Certainly, their financial survival will depend on how many claims are filed, the aggregate value of those claims, the legitimacy of the claims and how long the claim filing goes on. All of which remains uncertain.

But, what seems to me to be more certain is that BP will have a difficult time surviving the corporate image nightmare. It is a problem that will likely continue in perpetuity. Why? Two words - social media.

These two words, and the peer-to-peer communications explosion they represent, did not exist in 1979 when the Ixtoc oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico or when the Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989. Ixtoc and Valdez are two environmental accidents on a similar scale as the current BP spill. But, the corporate image pitfalls of those pre-social media accidents will not live on to the same extent as will those of the BP spill. Those corporate image perils were not as threatening because social media did not exist during the times of Ixtoc and Valdez. And, because there was no social media then, there would not be as much deposited about the Ixtoc or Valdez incidents within blogs, social networks, mini-blogs and photo sharing sites as there would be about the BP incident.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and blogs galore are alight with news, opinions and lies about the BP disaster. The extent of the social media coverage, much of it launched by “citizen journalists,” is so voluminous that it cannot be chronicled here. For your own customized look, you may simply enjoy the miracle of Google and type “BP” into its search box. But here I can, at least, take a quick look at one social media view of the BP accident. This one is particularly unique among all the social media haranguing of the hapless British multinational. Prompted by the BP rig explosion and the ensuing spill, Greenpeace, the global environmental non-governmental organization (NGO), initiated a “Rebrand the BP Logo” contest. Via the Internet, Greenpeace asked its supporters to submit their own versions of the BP logo, telling them:“ . . . create a logo for BP which shows that the company is not “beyond petroleum;” they’re up to their necks in tar sands and deepwater drilling.”

And what did the NGO say they would do with the winning redesign? (Which is known in other parlance as a “culture jam.”)

“The winning logo will be used by us in innovative and exciting ways as part of our international campaign against the oil company.” (quotes per Greenpeace Web site -  http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/gulf-oil-spill/bp-logo) 

Now, when viewed by the casual observer such an action might seem clever, cute, even perhaps tongue-in-cheek. Certainly, because of these characteristics, the Greenpeace campaign would attract a lot of attention. But, when viewed from the perspective of a business person, it’s plain to see this campaign will also add further contemporary damage to the BP corporate image. Be that as it may, let’s not be short-sighted and forget the BP of the future. That damage will be of an extended nature, one of a “silent killer,” which will continue to injure the corporate image long after the last gallon of oil is scooped up, long after the last pelican is cleaned and released, and long after all compensation is awarded, no matter how much more “green” that energy company attempts to become. That injury to the future BP corporate image will endure because of the way Greenpeace collected the contest entries. Greenpeace asked the contest entrants to submit their entries to a photo group on Flickr.com, the social photo and image sharing site. When the contest ended on June 28, there were approximately 2,500 entries in the two Flickr.com photo groups, “Behind the Logo 1 & 2,” that Greenpeace had set up for their purpose. Also, at that time, there had been about 600,000 views of the logo rebrands entered, views racked up in only a matter of a few weeks. In terms of numbers of future views, what do you think that number implies if these images remain on Flickr.com?

It doesn’t seem likely that Greenpeace would remove all these rebrand entries once the contest is complete. Why would they? And in that case, for as long as Greenpeace keeps its Flickr.com account active, these images will live “forever” on Flickr.com, and they will be available for people to digitally share and pass around as they like, ad infinitum and ad nauseum for BP. Even if, at some point, Greenpeace did remove these logo rebrand entries from Flickr.com, in all probability, because these images would have been exchanged online (digitally migrating away from Flickr.com), moving from one site to the next, they will continue to live indefinitely on the larger social web.

So, given this one silent social media killer example, and because of all the other countless social media “pastings” of the BP brand that exist out there on the social web, I believe it will be very difficult for BP to survive the perpetual corporate image impact. This is an impact borne of an easy to use tool, accessible to almost everyone in the developed world, that didn’t exist a half dozen years ago and one which will likely become more pervasive as time marches on.What does that signal for BP? And what does that indicate for any other company, such as yours, which is either rightly or wrongly accused within social media?

Richard Telofski is the founder and president of The Kahuna Content Company, Inc., a competitive strategy consultancy. He is also the author of four books, including “Insidious Competition” and “Dangerous Competition.” For more information, visit www.InsidiousCompetition.com.

Latina Voices

Three inspirational women — Minerva Perez, Patricia Gras and Sofia Adrogué  —joined forces two years ago to create and host a television program that would provide insights into the minds of highly educated Latin American women.

That program, Latina Voices: Smart Talk, is an English-speaking, 30-minute talk show. It focuses on a variety of topics of interest — ranging from business and politics to entertainment and pop culture. The show is filmed in HTV studios in Midtown and airs on HoustonPBS Channel 8 every Sunday at 2:30 p.m. It can also be seen on HTV/Comcast Cable Channel 16 every Wednesday and Sunday at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

As the talk show hosts explain, Latinos make up one of the largest groups in the country. More than 44 million now live in the U.S. According to them, this community is often referred to as a “sleeping giant” and often disregarded in mainstream media. 

Two years ago, Perez, an Emmy-nominated broadcast journalist and former KTRK-TV ABC 13 anchor, decided it was time to give this “sleeping giant” a wake-up call and develop a show to give the Latino community a voice.

Perez said, “I was dumbfounded that Barbara [Walters] didn’t have a Latina on The View. Latinos are the biggest emerging group — not even emerging, we’re burgeoning; we’ve exploded already. I was frustrated that the Latina voice wasn’t being heard, and I had to do something about it.” 

After coming up with the concept for the show, Perez asked Gras and Adrogué  if they would like to be a part of it.

Perez said, “When I pitched the idea to Patricia, she was the first one to say ‘I want to be a part of this; this is groundbreaking. Let’s do it.’”

Gras, an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist and PBS producer, said, “I wanted to be involved with Latina Voices because I wanted to represent a point of view that is seldom heard in the mainstream. We [Latinos] bring so much to the melting pot that is America and, yet, on the major networks, I felt we didn’t have a voice."

Even though the show’s target audience is Latina women professionals ages 18-59, the hosts of Latina Voices stress its philosophy that everyone cares about the same things, and the show is there to provide a different perspective on those issues.Perez said, “We don’t talk about  only Latino issues. We are addressing issues that affect everyone, because everything that affects non-Latinos, affects Latinos too.”

Gras said, “Many people assume because we are Latinos we don’t speak English or all we care about is immigration or bilingual education, when in fact, we care about the same issues everyone else cares about. The difference is, we are bicultural, so we come from a different angle.” 

Some of the issues the women have discussed on the show so far include: women in the workplace, immigration reform, healthcare and the census. The hosts of Latina Voices choose the topics to discuss by deciding what is affecting society and  what subjects the audience wants to be better informed.

“One woman asked us to do a story on poverty in Guatemala, so we interviewed the vice president of Guatemala, Dr. Rafael Espada,” said Perez.

Some of the other guests who have appeared on Latina Voices include: Barbara Padilla,  a local finalist of America's Got Talent; Pam Gardner, president of the Astros; Olympic Medalist Raj Bhavsar, and his Olympic coach, Kevin Mazeika.

In its first two years on the air, Latina Voices has found its way into over 40,000 homes.

The hosts say they are happy with the popularity of the show but stress “we’re not concentrating on the number (of viewers); we’re concentrating on making a better and better show.”

Although the show has been extremely successful in such a short amount of time, the women said they have had their difficulties. 

“It costs money to fund the shows, and we don’t have a lot of it,” said Perez, who hopes that Latina Voices will continue to gain sponsors as the show develops.

Currently, the show is being sponsored by Goya, Fiesta and Continental Airlines.To get more details about Latina Voices, please go online and visit www.latinavoices.com.

Amanda Trella is a native of Chicago, a senior at the University of Houston, majoring in print journalism, and a summer intern at Houston Woman Magazine.

Texas Textbooks

Back in May, the Texas State Board of Education held a public hearing on proposed changes to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills social studies curriculum standards. During the hearing, five Houston-area residents — Donna Cole, Glen Gondo, Dr. Abbie Grubb, Sandra Tanamachi and Linda Toyota — testified to the importance of including the Japanese American experience during World War II. As a result, Texas students will now learn about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Executive Order 9066 which led to the internment of Japanese Americans. 

Every 10 years, the SBOE reviews the TEKS curriculum standards for each area of study. Since Texas is the second largest buyer of textbooks in the nation (after California), national publishers often use the TEKS standards to determine the information to include in their books. Hence, Texas became the focus of a national debate after the proposed changes to the TEKS social studies curriculum were announced in March. The partisan SBOE, comprised of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, was viewed by some states as too conservative in its interpretation of history. The California Senate went so far as to pass legislation stating they would not approve any textbooks, which used the TEKS standards. Within Texas, the Texas Education Agency received tens of thousands of letters and comments about the proposed changes and 206 registrants to testify at the May 19 hearing before the final vote on May 21. Cole, Gondo, Dr. Grubb, Tanamachi and Toyota represented the concerns of the Japanese American community.

Cole said, “I really didn’t know if our testimony was going to change anything; but it was worth a shot. All I knew is that we had to go do it.”

The previous curriculum included mention of the Japanese American internment after Pearl Harbor. However, the board intended to change the wording to equate the internment of Germans and Italians with that of the Japanese in an attempt to eliminate racial bias. According to Dr. Grubb, a historian whose dissertation was on the 442nd RCT, that equation is inaccurate. 

In a written release, Dr. Grubb explained, “Executive Order 9066 allowed for the illegal removal and confinement of over 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans from the West Coast as a result of racism, not military necessity. In contrast, the internment of Italian, German and Japanese Americans by the Department of Justice and FBI was based on a centuries-old law allowing non-citizens of an enemy nation to be confined legally and with a right to a trial.”  

In addition, no amendment included the all-volunteer Japanese American 442nd RCT, which would become the most decorated unit of its size and length of service in military history or the Military Intelligence Service linguists who risked their lives to gather information for the U.S.Of the five representatives addressing these issues, four were personally affected by the events following Pearl Harbor. While Dr. Grubb provided credibility as the historian, the rest punctuated their testimony with personal accounts and losses.  

Cole said, “All of us had different experiences. Linda’s family was interred, so was Glen Gondo’s family. Glen’s family was actually sent to the horse stables in Santa Ana; and his aunt lost her life because she became ill from the unsanitary conditions. We were living in Colorado, so we were not interred. though my father was in the 442.”

Toyota said, “My dad and his three brothers were in the 442, and we lost an uncle in the war. My dad’s mom had a stroke a week after Pearl Harbor. They didn’t know if it was due to the stress.”

Cole, representing the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, spoke first about the importance of the Japanese American story and the role of the 442nd RCT and MIS in its history. Her comments served as a general introduction about why the group was testifying.In a subsequent interview, Cole revealed another reason she felt the testimony was so vital: so it would never happen again because, on 9-11, it almost had.

At an Asian Pacific Heritage Dinner, Cole heard Norman Mineta speak about the events following the attacks. He was the Secretary of the Department of Transportation who grounded the planes on 9-11. In a meeting in the White House basement, while the heads of state were trying to decide what to do next, a suggestion was made to start bringing in Muslims from heavily concentrated areas. 

He stood up and said, “You can’t do that. I was 10 years old when you did that to the Japanese Americans.”

Cole said, “I thought, ‘Oh, my God. Did God put him there for that reason? He was meant to be in that place at that time because who knows, we might have rounded up all the Muslims.’ So, that was another reason we wanted to make sure it was in the books, so that it doesn’t happen to anybody ever again.”

Dr. Grubb, representing the Go for Broke National Education Foundation, gave the historical context of the Japanese American internment and EO 9066. Gondo spoke next for the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, as well as the Japanese American Citizens League. His testimony highlighted the various Japanese American divisions, which liberated German death camps at the end of the war. 

Toyota, also representing the Japanese American Citizens League, reemphasized the difference of the Japanese internment camps from the German and Italian experience. She spoke of the rescue of the Texas Lost Battalion and her father’s service with the 442nd RTC. Toyota then read from the “Japanese American Creed,” written at the beginning of the war to demonstrate the commitment of Americans of Japanese ancestry to the U.S.

Finally, Tanamachi, an elementary school teacher representing the Japanese American Veteran’s Association, reinforced the prior testimony about the importance of including the 442nd RTC and MIS linguists in the curriculum. 

Though not all of their proposed amendments passed, the group is content they contributed to changing the lessons Texas students will learn about Japanese Americans during WWII.

The five continue to work on different initiatives to ensure the men of the 442nd RTC are honored and the history of all Japanese Americans is remembered. In addition to trying to raise funds for a memorial for the 442nd RTC in Houston, they are working to secure a Congressional Gold Medal and commemorative stamp. Dr. Grubb is working for Go For Broke and the Harris County Department of Education to train and provide supplemental information to teachers. They hope to continue the training around the state. 

For more information about the history of the 442nd RCT and to view oral histories, visit www.goforbroke.org.


Nikki Rosenberg is a staff reporter for Houston Woman Magazine.

Archway Gallery

Archway Gallery, started by a group of women as an opportunity to advance their careers, has become a long-standing fixture in Houston’s art community. In March 1976, a trio of local female artists —  Marianne Hornbuckle, Stephanie Nadolski and Janet Hassinger — wanted a permanent place to display their work. It was early in their careers, each building resumes, showing at juried shows, art league shows and outdoor art festivals. 

“At some point, we thought, we could do better than this,” Hornbuckle said.

She and Nadolski liked the idea of a cooperative gallery, where each member-artist’s work would be on display year-round and prominently featured once a year. This would also prove more profitable than showing at commercial galleries, which take up to 50 percent commission on each work sold. Artist Hilary Page was taking classes at the Jung Center, knew of an empty room there that was spacious and well lit and negotiated a space with the director of the center. With a vision and a space to hang, the trio gathered a group of ladies — many who knew each other from the local street show scene — to form a core group of member-artists.

This new group, including June Adler, Roberta Cooper, Judy Bush and Mary Bush, set to work right away with Nadolski as director. They chose a name, Archway Gallery, for the arches in the Jung Center’s architecture. To get started, they contacted several successful cooperatives around the country and used their guidelines to determine Archway’s rules of operation. 

Archway Gallery’s first show, featuring 12 member-artists, was held in May 1976. Many of the first artists were involved in the Watercolor Art Society of Houston. Almost 35 years later, Archway Gallery is home to Houston’s largest cooperative of local artists. From painting and sculpture to pottery and wood, art in every medium of every style is on display. The recent move to a 4,000-square-foot space on Dunlavy allowed Archway to double its membership, now representing 30 artists. Director John Slaby says each artist has a vested interest in making the gallery a success. It still functions as a cooperative; each member has one vote, and decisions are made by majority opinion. Each artist chooses which works will be on display and sets her own prices. The gallery receives minimal commission on each work sold. Each artist works in the gallery one day per month. So, each artist can be prominently featured regularly. The group comes together to change the gallery each month. Having work on display constantly continues to be the draw to potential member-artists.

“You can spend a lot of time just hunting for places to show and shows to be in,” said Cookie Wells, who has been a member-artist for nearly 17 years. 

“When I was invited to submit an application, I jumped at it. At least I would have a place to have my work on display all the time,” said Wells.

It is also the reason many artists stay with the gallery. Several others have been members more than 10 years, including painters Margaret Scott Bock, Marsha Harris, John Slaby, Jim N. Hill, Shirl Riccetti, ceramist Vorakit Chinooksowong and sculptor Andrea Wilkinson. Slaby and Wells agree Archway Gallery is a nurturing community of passionate, enthusiastic artists. Bock, a member-artist for 30 years, said many get their feet wet at Archway Gallery and move on to other places. Ultimately, other galleries and career opportunities called away each of the founding members.

“What is uncommon about Archway Gallery, and remarkable, is that as people have come and gone, they have been replaced by others,” says Liz Spencer, a member-artist. “The business hasn’t stopped when principal artists have left.”

In addition to artist transitions, the gallery has had many homes and directors. In 1980, the gallery moved from the Jung Center into a rented space in Rice Village. It was during this transition that many of the founding members left the gallery. Bock and Ann Hartley were named co-directors and moved the gallery to a small house at Montrose and Missouri, where it would stay until 1993.The gallery then moved to the River Oaks Shopping Center on West Gray. In 2008, forced to move, they relocated to their current space on Dunlavy.

The new space has brought new opportunities to make the community aware of the gallery. In July, Archway Gallery held its second juried open competition benefiting the Houston Humane Society. In August, Archway gallery will host Picasso’s by Paws, benefiting Houston’s SNAP. Archway Readers, a monthly program that allows writers to come in and read their work, is in its 13th year.

“I’m very proud [Archway] is still there,” says Hornbuckle, who now lives and works in Santa Fe. “It’s a credit to the people who put in time and energy to make it work, dealt with the ebb and flow of membership, change of location and all of those things.”

For more information about the artists or a schedule of coming shows and special events, visit www.archwaygallery.com. 

Kim James is a staff reporter for Houston Woman Magazine.

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