I retired a few years ago from a career in finance and as a company executive to become a writer/philosopher.
My goals are: helping people to make sense of their lives, their money and work; serving the poor and disadvantaged; and caring for the Earth which God has created.
I was born into an Amish Mennonite family in 1946 with 3 brothers and 6 sisters. At age five I became substantially paralyzed during a Polio epidemic. My parents thought I would never be able to hold a job when I grew up; so my mother went to college to become a teacher so she could support me.
However, although I walked on crutches (and still do), I gradually gained strength. I read many books and did exceptionally well at school.
At 18, my brother Mark suggested that I try to get into a top university, so I applied to Harvard, Yale and the University of Chicago. All offered me full scholarships with room and board, since my parents were too poor to afford this.
After 4 years at Harvard, I wanted a break from studies, so I interviewed with major banks and corporations. I landed a great opportunity on Wall Street with Chase Manhattan Bank (now part of JP Morgan Chase).
My external life was successful — 25 years at increasingly higher positions in international banking, than 10 years as a corporate CFO and CEO.
However, the more important areas of my life were less visible. Not only did my family, friends and community matter greatly to me, but I have passionately sought after wisdom and understanding.
My writing today results from a lifetime of questioning, introspection, and determination to find what is most important.
I have been happily married to Kathleen for 35 years, with 4 children. I am profoundly happy and satisfied.
Although I worked a few years as an elementary music specialist, my greatest pleasure has been in marrying Paul and raising our four children. I enjoy people very much, particularly their life stories, which always intrigue me.
I grew up with two brothers in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver (then a working class Greek neighborhood); it is now a trendy area of boutique stores and restaurants. I loved school and thrived under the grading system of silver stars and report cards.
My parents were clear about their values. Getting a good education was of first importance, especially for my father who had to leave school at Grade Eight and apprentice as a shipbuilder. He also loved music. He owned and played a variety of instruments (second-hand, of course), including six violins. He had played his fiddle at many country dances, in Northern Alberta when he first came out from Ireland. His sisters played piano, and it was non-negotiable that we children would all learn to play piano.
For my mother, the main lesson I learned was to be considerate of the feelings of others. She had had a lonely childhood mostly in boarding schools, and had learned to be inconspicuous. As a very young child, I was always to be careful of not hurting others’ feelings. She also took us to church, and planted and nurtured the seeds of a Christian faith. I had many questions, which she answered patiently.
I grew up with a strong hope to marry and raise children which I considered the perfect job. However, I trained as a teacher and taught several years before meeting Paul.
I truly loved being home with our children, playing with them, and volunteering in their schools. Later, I was able to take several counseling courses, as I became intrigued with personality and the challenges that life presents us, as we and our families grow.
I enjoy very much the stream of fascinating people who have come up to visit us over the years, and our exchanges of viewpoints and dreams for a good and productive future. I find life is never static. There is always another bend in the road to be tackled.
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