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…

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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