Teacher’s pet—Lifelong impact of my favorite teacher

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‘I am not a teacher, but an awakener.’

(Robert Frost)

Who is your favorite teacher?  What did this person do to hold the distinction of your favorite?  Do you emulate the characteristics they displayed towards you?  How has this person impacted your journey?  (Trick question)

Decided to reverse my normal pattern and get right to the questions I wanted to pose to readers.

I’ve been contemplating writing something about teachers or role models for a while.  Just needed a little inspiration and a logical way to highlight the importance of my favorite teacher and how the Walk into the Future blog technically originated in a Typing 1 high school course.

Mattie Fouraker

Mattie Fouraker is my favorite teacher.  Please note, I’ve had some amazing folks to guide me throughout my entire journey, but Mrs. Fouraker provided me with the tool I use every day—the ability to type.

The Typing 1 class was an elective I decided to take in the 10th grade.  My main reason for taking the class was it was full of young ladies who had an interest in typing.  My interest was being in a class full of young ladies—almost had the class to myself but one of my male friends decided to join me.

My goal was to just sit in the class and do as little as possible—had no idea typing would be a central part of my adult life.  Mrs. Fouraker must have read my ‘thought bubble’ for why I was in her class.  She told me on day one that she expected me to keep up and perform as well as the rest of the class.  She never wavered on her expectations for me and provided the encouragement to learn, perform and get better every day.    My competitive nature came out as well because I wanted to get faster and more accurate.

Practice, repetition and encouragement produced results that allowed me to win a typing award for speed and accuracy.  I finished as the fastest and most accurate student in the class to the amazement of the other students.  My status didn’t faze Mrs. Fouraker because she saw ‘promise’ in me and nurtured the process to ensure I was successful—she even made a point to keep the young ladies in the class away from ‘me’ so I didn’t get distracted.

I had no idea at the time how valuable this class and Mrs. Fouraker’s guidance would be on my future!

Mrs. Fouraker and I still communicate to this day and she always asks me if I still type 65 words per minute. 😊 She occasionally reads my blog, so hoping she enjoys the fact I’m still typing away.

Projects (Book, dissertation)

My time in the Air Force allowed me to perform multiple roles:  computer analyst, instructor, leader and event planner.  The skill that overlapped in all these roles was my ability to type.  The computer analyst role required I write code for hours on end.  The amount of coding and testing we were able to complete was enhanced because of my typing speed and accuracy.  Who knew a class in 10th grade would impact the Air Force mission so much!

I was able to fulfill a lifelong goal in 2010 when I published a book.  The ability to type provided me with the foundation to generate enough content prior to editing the book.  Typing allows me to get my thoughts down since I’ve never been able to keep up with my ‘active’ thoughts writing by hand.  This also helps because I don’t have the greatest handwriting and have trouble trying to decipher ‘what’ I was trying to express—typing eliminates these issues for me AND anyone trying to read my writing.

My PhD dissertation topped out at 107 total pages, but I wrote about 3 times that amount of material to get to my finished product.  Mandatory edits presented to me by the dissertation committee members were quickly incorporated within the document with ease.  The typing lessons learned (proper hand placement, key locations, etc.) allowed me to complete this task within minimal time and check off another major milestone in my journey.


The published Walk into the Future articles are another example of Mrs. Fouraker’s impact.  Most of the published articles are conceived and written in one session.  I normally take a topic (suggested by a tree branch, personal experience, current topic, etc.) and sit down to find my inspiration to write.  I sit down and begin typing once I identify an angle I want to take with the article.  I can always go back and edit things to make more concise but most of what you read in the Walk into the Future blog was thought of and written in the same session.  Lessons learned in that 10th grade typing class provide me with the capability to generate ideas and get them down quickly.  FYI, I still don’t look at the keys or my hands when typing! 😉


Thanks to Mrs. Fouraker for providing me with tools I have leveraged my entire adult life.  Her dedication and patience displayed years ago enables me to chronicle my current Walk into the Future and continue to move forward—well done!!!

‘What we learn with pleasure we never forget.’

(Alfred Mercier)

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No cell, no worries!

Up to 7 numbers now!

Walk Into the Future

‘Cell phones are so convenient that they’re an inconvenience.’

(Haruki Murakami)

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Yesterday I had a small problem handling my cell phone.  Started my daily trek to the gym to get a chest workout in.  Nothing out of the norm so far, right?  Well my cell phone fell from my gym bag as I was putting it in my vehicle.  I’ve dropped my cell phone before so didn’t think this was a major deal in life.  Put it back in my bag and made my way to the gym.

Discovered the simple drop may impact my day more when I tried to listen to my favorite reggae station during my workout.  Turns out my phone showed the dreaded ‘black screen’ of death—still had indicator lights that I had incoming messages, but I couldn’t navigate to them without my interactive screen.  Still no big deal, so…

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Get up, Stand up!

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‘Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.’

(Winston S. Churchill)

Most people who talk to me or read the Walk into the Future blog know I have a love for reggae music.  Growing up I favored other music genres but never could get into reggae.  Really, I never took the time to truly ‘listen’ to the artists because I spent more time trying to hear something familiar as oppose to what was really being said.

Long story shorten, Reggae is what I listen to about 85% of the time when I have headphones on.  Hearing Reggae live in Negril, Jamaica was my turning point and I continue to gravitate to the beats and stories daily.

  • Reggae: a style of Jamaican music blending blues, calypso, and rock and roll, characterized by a strong syncopated rhythm and lyrics of social protest.   (Dictionary.com)

Bob Marley released his classic song ‘Get up, Stand up’ in 1973.  The intent for Bob Marley and Peter Tosh was to make a statement and speaks to a level of persistence in life.

Decided to revisit this classic song today from an angle to provide an ‘irie’ slant to my current Walk into the Future.  I was in negotiations with an organization to provide professional development training for their staff later in the year.  I was excited for the opportunity to make a positive difference for the staff and organization.

The organization ‘smartly’ surveyed staff members to get their input into the direction of the professional development training and discovered staff wanted/needed something else.  They let me know they were going in another direction based on staff needs.  FYI—I fully support the new direction they decided to go because staff identified what they needed—the goal is to build the organization based on their needs.

Most blog posts I describe my Walk into the Future with all the positive things it has brought me.  I share this story to remind readers that even though I’m enjoying every day of my current walk, I too experience things that don’t always go my way.  No worries!

Bob Marley reminds me to, “Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight”.  I view this small setback as an opportunity to sharpen my skills to ensure I can deliver additional speaking platforms to maximize organizations’ growth potential.  This is just one step of many on my Walk into the Future—I’m still moving forward.  Also, I have already started on my next proposal for the same organization because I haven’t given up the fight!  😊

My persistence remains and I will continue to find ways to make a difference! Everything Irie!

How do you handle setbacks?  What tools do you utilize to bounce back?  Curious, thanks!

‘The most interesting thing about a postage stamp is the persistence with which it sticks to its job.’

(Napoleon Hill)

adventure challenge climb climber
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Planting trees–Who gave you a chance?

‘I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.’

(Oprah Winfrey)

I continue to express the benefits of building effective partnerships and how networking can enhance this process.

My current Walk into the Future provides multiple opportunities for partnering and networking to continue to make a difference in the world.  Current relationships (mentors, tree branches, etc.) can be instrumental for the development of new opportunities.

I was virtually introduced to Isabella Johnston from Intern Pursuit through a mutual friend.  We connected via LinkedIn and then followed up with a phone call to learn more about how we could partner (if possible) in the future.  Happy to say Isabella’s role with Intern Pursuit and other projects she has in the Central Florida area are making a difference daily.  Enjoyed learning about the exciting things she is working on and will roll out later this year.

We discussed the possibility of me coming down to participate as a guest speaker for her Intern Whisperer Podcast.  Participating on the podcast seemed like a perfect partnership so I was happy to accept the offer to continue to work with Isabella and her staff.

What a great experience to meet Isabella, her staff and recording the podcast!  Very engaging format with questions designed to allow me to provide professional and leadership advice to listeners of the podcast.  Had a blast with the entire process and looking forward to continuing this newly formed partnership.

An interesting aspect to my trip down to Orlando was I had lunch with a ‘tree branch’ prior to recording the podcast.  I had breakfast the next morning with another ‘tree branch’—tried to get a lot accomplished in minimal time.  The interesting part of my connecting with my Orlando tree branches is they both know (know of) Isabella and her work and she is familiar with their work.  They are all master networkers, so I’m not surprised these folks all know each other—looks like I was the last one to the party! 😊

Who gave you a chance?

One question that was presented to me during the podcast was ‘Who gave you a chance’?

You can hear my full answer by listening to the podcast.  I’ve had a lot of great people mentor me over the years but my answer to this question is Ann Loyd.  Ann allowed me to transition from the Air Force into a role within the Macon State College Career Center.  Nothing in my professional background directly translated to career services but Ann took the chance my dedication and passion to help others would translate.  Happy to say it did—I’m still making a difference because Ann saw something in me and helped me shape my world view on helping students succeed.  My Walk into the Future started with the chance she gave me.

 ‘It is the responsibility of leadership to provide opportunity, and the responsibility of individuals to contribute.’

(William Pollard)

So, I pose the same question to you–Who gave you a chance?  Who will you give a chance to?  Interested in your thoughts—thanks!

Intern Pursuit May 2019



On the good foot: The Brooks take over

‘I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.’

(Ronald Rook)

My current Walk into the Future has allowed me to grow in many areas.  One of those areas is my constant pursuit to run a half marathon under 2 hours.  I discovered the only way to meet the goal was to actual put in the work to get there.  I’ve documented my past training program consisted of the occasional 7 mile run before tackling the challenge of running a half marathon.  I was finishing the races but didn’t have the extra kick needed to really approach my running goal.

The new running plan now has me doing the following:

  • Tuesday: 5-mile run (or longer)
  • Thursday: 7-mile run (or longer)
  • Saturday: 10 to 15-mile run
    • Note: All adjusted based on weather or my schedule
    • Leverage the treadmill for speed work

This increased mileage has been good to condition my mind and body.  The mental and physical toughness generated was very evident in my last half marathon in Nashville.  Building muscle memory to continue to move forward even when it hurts is an outcome from the increased running workload.

Decided to utilize a local running specialty store, Fleet Feet to have my feet and gait analyzed to see if I could gain an advantage with my training.  Please note, I recommend everyone get a foot and gait analysis done before tackling the miles needed to complete a half marathon.

My foot analysis identified three issues I had but didn’t know about.  The first issue discovered is my feet are not flat, I have a low arch, but it still exists.  Was told years ago by a doctor I needed inserts because I had flat feet.  The second issue was my right foot is longer than my left.  The third issue was I always bought running shoes base on my ‘true’ shoe size.

The Fleet Feet staff recommended with the miles and races I participate in, I should buy running shoes a full size longer than my normal foot size.  The larger shoe allows my feet to breath better and provides a platform in case my feet swell while chasing additional miles.  The larger shoe also eliminated the discomfort I felt since one foot is longer than the other.

Armed with this new intel, I had the Fleet Feet staff recommend shoes to fit my unique feet (no pun intended).  They provided me with 3 in-store options to try and get a comfortable feel for.  Each shoe provided a different level of technology (arch support, roll bars, cushioning, etc.).  Decided to conduct my own research on each shoe they showed me but came away impressed with the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 model.  I switched from my normal ASICS GT-2000 shoes to the Brooks shoes two weeks prior to the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll 2019 half marathon.  This gave me enough time to get 30 miles of training in the new shoe—never race in brand new shoes.

Happy to say the Brooks running shoes performed very well for me in Nashville and training leading up to the race.  The support the new shoes provide eliminated foot discomfort, leg fatigue and joint issues.

Grateful to the Fleet Feet staff for helping me understand more about my feet and the need to ensure my equipment matches my needs.  I love the ASICS brand but was more than willing to replace them to keep my feet happy and moving forward.  Excited to see the future race results in my new Brooks—more miles to come!

Join me at the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon in September to see how my new Brooks are performing!

‘Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, others head to the corner pub, but I chose running as my therapy.’

(Dean Karnazes)


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