My Gratitude to ULI

Salesforce Tower made in LEGO by Patty Sherin

Salesforce Tower in LEGO built for ULI Fall Meeting by Patty Sherin

Urban Land Institute commissioned me to build the Salesforce Tower out of LEGO and to be their resident artist at their latest annual meeting held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco this past October. The Salesforce Tower (see link above) is a new high rise being built-in SF. It will be the tallest building on the west coast.

I am honored and grateful to be asked. A special Thank You goes to Lisa McNeil and her entire team for finding me online and making me feel welcomed. I was really impressed by all the attendees from the various backgrounds, skill set and professions. I hope to work with you all again.

ULI is a nonprofit research and education organization founded in 1936. Their mission is, “to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide”.

I was so impressed by the attendees and the different stories people told while building with LEGO at my table.  The funny thing is I shouldn’t be surprised, LEGO fans come from all walks of life. They each design and build differently. Some attendees just sat and mindlessly built stuff, others were very thoughtful, while other simply asked questions of some of the new pieces LEGO makes.  Here are some of my favorite interactions with the attendees from the event:

Two people sat at our table and talked, when they were finished one said to the other, “I’ve noticed that I always build symmetrically”. Her companion laughed and said, “I always build asymmetrically.”

The doors to Heaven or Hell

The doors to Heaven or Hell by 2015 ULI Fall attendee

One woman sat down and said she was not creative at all. I said that was impossible, you just haven’t thought of what you do as creative. So she asked me about a few LEGO elements we had on the table and I put together a few doors with their frames and she came up with this and said, “Here are the doors of heaven and hell”. I was blown away! Simple, yet creative. I suggested she cultivate her creative side. There are so many studies lately stating the usefulness of encouraging your creative side to help you with challenges whether in your professional or personal lives.  I find that overcoming most challenges require creative thinking and sometimes all it takes is a bit of play to get those creative juices flowing. I always recommend playing with LEGO. :)

As always, Thank you for reading.

See you on the next post…

Thank you Bricks by the Bay!

Rainbow Drops by Patty Sherin

Rainbow Drops by Patty Sherin

My piece, Rainbow Drops won Best Mosaic at 2015’s Bricks by the Bay LEGO® Fan Exhibition! I am thrilled…it is an honor to be recognized by my peers.  This recognition is especially important to me when so many talented, creative and artistic master builders were in attendance.  See my previous post for pictures of the event.

Click here to see all of Bricks by the Bay 2015 MOC Winners

I would like to thank all the Volunteers, Theme Coordinators, and Board Members who worked so hard to bring together this amazing event! I would like to especially thank Bill W., Bruce C., Jennifer N., Russell C., Dan K., and the entire Allard Family (including Skylar) you guys ROCK! Thank you for being so patient and understanding, I learned so much from you guys and I look forward to working with you all again.

I loved every moment of this exhibition. I met funny and awesome people, learned new techniques, purchased cool LEGO parts and merchandise, sold some of my newest pieces and just had an all-around good time.

If you missed this year’s event be sure to stay tuned for upcoming announcements for next year’s date and theme. We are almost ready to announce and I will let you know as soon as I can.

As always, thank you for reading,

2015 Bricks by the Bay

See photos and video of the 2015 Bricks by the Bay LEGO Fan Exhibition

Thank you to everyone who volunteered and attended the 2015 Bricks by the Bay Exhibition!  It was an incredible event and I look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Bricks by the Bay

Was an amazing experience. I was honored when asked to help out with the Media. Leonard wrote the press release and I shared them with a list that was used 3 years ago.  Here are the folks who came out:

NBC Bay Area News – video coverage of the first day at Bricks by the Bay

CBC News (at 1:12 into video, you will see my art displayed)

KTSF 26 News – Chinese Channel (interviews are in English)

San Jose Mercury News (Photos only)

Thank you for coming out. We really appreciate the media coverage!

When I volunteered for Bricks by the Bay, I really didn’t know what to expect, sure I had been to all kinds of conferences including Biomedical and Anthropological conferences while in college, Network Marketing conferences like SendOutCards’ annual conferences, and smaller meetings like business trade shows but none of those compared to the awesomeness that is Bricks by the Bay!  Bricks by the Bay LEGO Fan Exhibition is put on by volunteers of BayLUG. Attendees come from all over. AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO) exhibit their MOCs (My Own Creation).  We had folks come from all over. [Let me know how far you traveled to attend Bricks by the Bay, I would love to add the list here].

LEGO Lettering Workshop

2015 Bricks by the Bay LEGO Letting class with Dr. Li Li

I arrived at the Santa Clara Convention Center early Thursday morning for workshops; these had an extra charge for materials and instructions, but it was totally worth it. My first class was lettering with Dr. Li. He taught us 3 different techniques which I look forward to incorporating into my new sign.

It was a lot of fun learning the different techniques. Dr. Li is extremely talented and he surprised everyone after the class when he told us he had to run because he was getting married that afternoon.  Now that’s AFOL dedication! Congratulations to Dr. and Mrs. Li Li! I wish you all the best.

LEGO Creature Building

Freddy from 2015 Bricks by the Bay Creature Building Class with Megan Rothrock

Later we had scheduled Creature Building with Megan Rothrock from the LEGO Adventure Books, unfortunately there was a mix-up in scheduling and the class had to be rescheduled to Saturday. Again, unfortunately during her class media arrived and it was my job to show them around and answer any questions they had. So I missed her class but I received the parts and instructions and created Freddy the Tri-Clops.

My third class was LEGO Stressed Structures with Charles Esseltine. I was really looking forward to this class. He taught us how to make a circle, triangle and pentagon out of 1×2 LEGO elements. It was very exciting. Make sure you were safety glasses for this class! There are lots of exploding LEGO happenings going on here. Charles made a beautiful candle holder which makes amazing reflections on the walls with his use of LEGO windows and clear and translucent bricks. But my favorite has to be his star!

Stars and Flakes by Charles Esseltine

Stars and Flakes by Charles Esseltine displayed at 2015 Bricks by the Bay LEGO Fan Exhibition

Friday and Saturday there were games and talks. I attended several talks about different techniques and a workshop on Women Building a Career with LEGO and Building the FFOL (Female Fans of LEGO) Community.

But the best part has to be seeing everyone’s MOCs. There were so many themes like; Art and Scale Models, Bionicle and Hero Factory, Castle, Fantasy, and Historical, High Seas, Junior Builder, Large Displays, Military, Pop Culture, Robotics and Machines, Space and Science Fiction, Teen Builder, and Town and Train. It was incredible! The best was the light house with a boat on the waves! Then there was a 30’ ft installation of Mouse Guard by Alice Finch. Alice brought several creations but the one she created with her son, Isle of Burk from How to Train your Dragon 2, was also amazing!  See gallery below.


Here’s a video of Working Star Trek Transporter by Roger G.

Here’s a gallery of photos my daughter, Jessica, and I took during the weekend.


Overall I had a wonderful time and I look forward to next year’s Bricks by the Bay.

As of right now, we haven’t set the date for next year’s Bricks by the Bay.  If you would like to know the date as soon as it’s announced sign up below and I’ll send you a quick note letting you know the date.



As always, thank you for reading!


Bay Area LEGO User Group at Makers Faire

2015 Makers Faire

Photos of BayLUG’s booth during 2015 Makers Faire, May 16 and 17, 2015

As part of my duties as a member of BayLUG (Bay Area’s LEGO User Group), I decided to volunteer this year in 2015 Makers Faire.  It was held May 16 and 17 at the San Mateo Event Center.  Here are some pictures of the event.


Actions, Rather than What You Have, Make You Who You Are

Hello Friends,

Sunset from Pacifica, CA

Sunset from Pacifica, CA

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus negotiating contracts, strategizing and coming up with new ways to wow and amaze you.  I hope you haven’t forgotten about me =p.

I recently got back from vacation from the west coast.  Here and below are some of my favorite pictures from my trip.  Before traveling to Northern California, the FreshBiz founders, Ronen Gafini and Simcha Gluck were in New York for an energizing event at Pace University, Lubin School of Business’ Entrepreneurship Lab.  The workshop had over 90 students, faculty and guests.  Thanks to Bruce for his support.  While the founders were here we also experienced the FreshMinds Workshop which I’ll discuss in a later post.

Today I would love to share with you a lovely testimonial I received while on vacation this month.  Maria’s testimonial is an example of the impact this game can have on folks.  Hope you enjoy it.


September 5th was the second time I played FreshBiz. The first time I was intimidated by the game and players, because I knew very little of business. Two of the players seemed to have lots of experience either in business or life. The fact of such vast knowledge made me shy and a bit embarrassed because I usually like to be good at everything I do, and those players knew more than I did. I know it’s wrong to see it in this form, especially when I could have learned from their experience. Second factor that kind of threw me off was the fast pace of the game. I was overwhelmed with information and that also intimidated me. It felt like I never had time to fully read my action cards, look at what the other players were doing and make my own moves. All of these factors made me very stressed, serious and tense. I couldn’t really absorb any information of have fun. So for my second game my goal was to enjoy and be stress free.

The new approach to the game was very helpful. Though I knew the game was a representation of reality I tried not to be fully affected by it. I have to admit the settings in this second game were much different from the first; whereas the people were more laid-back and knew each other. Nevertheless, I succeed in accomplishing my goal because I took relevant matters in a more relaxed form. This approach helped me understand the game and play my cards better. I was able to pay attention to the other players and also utilize my action cards more efficiently. I am sure the informal atmosphere allowed me to be more outspoken. In addition, the fact that Patty’s goal was to help me and Florence also assisted me move on with my game, since I could always ask her questions. Patty’s attitude made me realize that cooperation goes a long way and that business managing doesn’t always mean fierce competition. Another factor that made me comfortable with the game was the rule of losing all your money as we passed through the 2 million doors. Though it was set up to inspire creativeness, it actually took away the pressure I usually feel of being a successful woman with lots of money in my bank account. I realized that I could still live with what I had, and that though losing all my money I was still able to move on with my life. One thing I wasn’t aware then and just realized is that perhaps though not purposely, I had a few businesses and investments which would help me later on when I had no physical money. I feel this only happened because of my usage of the action cards and Patty’s good suggestions.

In retrospective, I understand now that my actions make me who I am and not what I have so far. Object gains come with my work, so I don’t need to worry with what I don’t have because it will come with my hard work. I need to be bold, ask questions without fear and interact with other business man and woman to achieve my goals. I am very happy with the results of this second game. As always FreshBiz helped me see aspects of myself and life. Thank you Patty for making me part of such instructive yet fun game!

Maria Brandao,
Young Communications Professional


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A Philanthropist is Born!

As a FreshBiz facilitator, I get the privilege of witnessing participant’s breakthroughs.  One of my favorite first experiences happened while I was practicing.  I facilitated a game for my daughter, her friend, and my two college friends.  First we had a lovely dinner, I did the opening introduction, and then they played the game.

"Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist" Tony Stark,, The Avengers

“Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” Tony Stark,, The Avengers

Before I tell you the story of what I learned, I would like to tell you about my daughter.  On Occasion when my daughter Jessica was young, I would see her playing quietly with a toy and some kid would come along and snatch the toy away from her.  Jessica would just turn around and find something else to play with.  I would be horrified and demand to know why she didn’t stand up for herself, but she would just brush it off and never seemed to care.

It always puzzled me.  In fact it made me angry. In my mind she was being bullied, and as her Mom, I wanted to protect her; but the truth was, whatever toy Jessica was playing with wasn’t that important to her.  She was happy to play with any toy.

Fast forward to this particular game, my college friend, who we will call Mark, is a very competitive person.  Always has been.  Now once you play FreshBiz for the first time, you quickly learn that collaboration is much more fun.  So Mark takes some risks early in the game and ends up losing all his money.  In order to keep him in the game, Jessica gives him the money he needs.  Now Mark is still playing competitively, but he’s helping Jessica make deals since she’s unfamiliar with negotiating.  Mark continues to take risks and loses all his money over and over again, and Jessica continues to give him enough money to stay in the game.  The game ends with Jessica winning and bringing everyone with her to the winners lot, with 20 minutes still on the clock.

What did I learn from this experience?  So many things, but most of all I learned that Jessica is a philanthropist and would serve the world best by giving to those in need.  We are all different with a wide variety of skills, talents, and abilities.  We need this diversity.  It takes all types of personalities to run the world.

Some of the best resources available in the FreshBiz game are called “Action Cards”.  Action Cards represent the things you have to offer.  For instance, the skills, talents, networks you belong to, and resources you have at your disposal, are what we call Action Cards.  For instance, Jessica’s Action Cards are her generosity and kindness.  She said she always made sure she had enough money to do what she needed to do and was happy to give away the rest.  Mark’s Action Cards are his ability to learn and adapt quickly and his negotiation skills.  Do you speak several languages?  Are you tech savvy?  Are you mechanical?  Are you good in math or science?  Are you a good communicator or negotiator?  What are your skills and talents you want to share?

Unfortunately, this is not what we are taught in school.  We were taught to be exactly the same so we can fill a role someone else determined for us.  In network marketing, they call it being a secret agent.  How can you be in business, if nobody knows what business you are in?

My tip for you this week is to come up with a list of Action Cards and share them.  You might be surprised with the outcome.  Share with us some of your Action Cards, maybe someone is looking for the skill you have and BAM, collaboration and/or partnership is born.  Feel free to share this article with your contact list, friends, social media channels or business associates.  And as always, thank you for reading.

I appreciate you!

Entrepreneurial Thinking 2.0

Wow, what an amazing few weeks!  Our launch was a huge success.  Thank you to those who showed up!  I’m sure you learned something new about yourself and how to turn your ideas into reality!  Today, I’d like to share some insights I learned while playing the game.  I’d like to first point out that I’ve played many times and facilitated several games.

Win to the Winth Workshop

Win to the Winth

Now, for those of you who don’t know there are three levels of thinking in FreshBiz.  Before my college education I was a level 1 thinker.  Level 1 thinking is victim thinking.  Victim thinking is blaming everyone and everything for the circumstances and situations that occur in your life.  You blame your boss, the economy, your parents, the educational system, etc.  We don’t deal with this in FreshBiz.

Since graduating college, I’ve been a level 2 thinker.  Level 2 thinking is respond thinking.  You respond accordingly to the circumstances and situations that occur in your life.  You act accordingly.  You take responsibility for your life and your actions.  Before FreshBiz, I’d been waiting for permission to be an entrepreneur and create my own life.  I had many limiting beliefs about what business was all about and how I fit into it.

Then FreshBiz taught me about Level 3 thinking or Entrepreneurial / Multidimensional thinking.  Entrepreneurial thinking is NOT about waiting for circumstances and situations to occur to you, but about CREATING / GENERATING the life you want to lead.

In one particular game, I had to experience this multiple times and land on pay $2M over and over and over again to get it.  In this game I didn’t give up and found ways to overcome the challenges with collaborations, negotiations, and business opportunities, which I generated, and ended up winning.  What I learned was, in life I don’t act like I did in the game.  In life I would get discouraged if the challenge was too great, and of course, come up with all sorts of excuses like; I don’t have the time, money, etc.  But in the game, I didn’t give up.  I persisted in looking for a solution until I found one.

Now, isn’t that what we normally do in life?  If our kids need something, don’t we go out of our way to make sure they have it?  Or if we need money for a particular emergency, don’t we do anything we have to do to get it?  What have you set your mind to accomplishing, and in taking action, have achieved?  Why is it any different for your business, goals, or relationships, when trying to accomplish something?  So my tip for you is: Never Give Up!  Examine your limited beliefs, look at things from a different point of view, and try something different.  Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?  It’s not enough just to examine your limiting beliefs, you have to look at it from a different point of view, and take action.  You might be surprised at the outcome.  In a future articles, I’ll go into more depth about these concepts one by one.

One of the best things about FreshBiz is they did not tell me how to life my life or give me the steps for success or even a formula for success.  Instead they have given me the tools to expand my thinking, experience success with the game, and imagine a better life in order to turn my ideas into reality. Now I understand that it’s up to me to create the life of my dreams.  I have so much to offer the world through my compassion, gratitude, and appreciation.  Today I can say with pride that I am creating the life I want to live.  And with the help of my team we are creating a strategy to bring FreshBiz to all of you so you too can live the life you were meant to live.

Is this something you are interested in learning more about?  Where is your level of thinking?  Are you a level 1, 2 or 3 thinker and why?  Please share your comments below and as always thank you for reading.  Feel free to share this article with others.  I appreciate you!