Raising Arizona

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Travel. There’s nothing like it to raise awareness and heighten new perspectives in the midst of a changed environment.

cooldeb hikes Camelback Mountain in Arizona

At my highest point on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona


Whether for work or pleasure, travel takes you to a different place and offers the opportunity to meet new people and embrace new experiences.

This was the goal for my most recent journey to Arizona.

While there, I had the privilege of attending a few sessions at the ASUGSV Summit, a conference serving up inspiration and networking for the education technology industry. An additional treat featured a hike on Camelback Mountain, proof made positive via the above photo.

At the conference, a couple of the keynote speakers resonated with me…

[Tweet “Amen @DovSeidman > Paths are often defined by zig-zag lines and not straight lines.”]

Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN, shared this perspective within a professional context, giving us permission (and encouragement!) to embrace the connected-yet-crooked paths of our own professional journeys and endeavors.

Another poignant moment by Seidman…

If you think about “A” as the peak of the first hill, “B” as the valley in between, and “C” as the peak of the next hill, where do you learn the most?

Lessons are learned while moving through the valley; they carry you forward to the next peak. And when you get to that place of exhalation and reflection, you’ll soon discover the valley was actually closer to your next peak than the previous hill.

Final Seidman tidbit…

[Tweet “Leaders should scale to the journey. Do things and succeed – don’t do things to succeed.”]

Refreshing, right? I’m telling you, Seidman is worth the Twitter follow.

Professional privilege continued as I listened to Common speak on behalf of his Common Ground Foundation. He was Twitter fodder; I could barely keep up.

Common speaks at the ASUGSV Summit

Common speaking passionately at the ASUGSV Summit


Common also participated in an interview with his mother Mahalia Hines, a Chicago Education Board member and President of his foundation. The interview was eloquently facilitated by Carlos Watson.

Common, Mahalia Hines and Carlos Watson speak at the ASUGSV Summit

From left: Common, Mahalia Hines and Carlos Watson

[Tweet “”Through music and art, you can make a lot of change.” via @common”]

To be honest, it’s not possible to capture the wisdom of this interview in a single highlighted tweet. It was best captured through the earnest, thoughtful, ardent and inspirational dialogue fostered across different perspectives on education.

Now, on to nature…

Before the conference started, I was eager to hike Camelback Mountain. The summit is 2700 feet above sea level and I made it more than half-way. On that day, fulfillment was not about reaching the top of the mountain, rather, it honored a changed environment to raise awareness and seize the moment. 

Base entrance to Camelback Mountain Arizona

Getting ready to ascend Camelback Mountain 


Pink Cacti in Camelback Mountain Arizona

Flowering pink cacti on Camelback Mountain


Flowering Yellow Cacti at the base of Camelback Mountain Ariizona
 Desert flowers abound at the base of Camelback Mountain 


It’s my hope this post inspires you to take a trip, seek a new perspective, or simply be aware to honor a special moment.

If it does, please let me know via comments or feel free to share your own thoughts!




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1 Comment

Theresa · at

Beautiful pictures!! And I love Siedmans thoughts around the peaks and the valleys because it is SO true!

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