What is Memorial Day?

This year I wanted to try something new to honor Memorial Day. Let’s learn together about the history and traditions associated with Memorial Day, a federal holiday observed in the United States on the last Monday in May. It is a day to remember and honor the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Memorial Day originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that conflict. Over time, Memorial Day has expanded to honor all American military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

Produced in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. God Bless the USA.

The Power of Perception

Perception can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. The classic leadership book, The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, shaped my leadership approach. They teach the power of Perception. Consider the story of The Monk and the Travellers:


One day a traveller was walking along a road on his journey from one village to another. As he walked he noticed a monk tending the ground in the fields beside the road. The monk said “Good day” to the traveller, and the traveller nodded to the monk. The traveller then turned to the monk and said “Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you a question?”. 

“Not at all,” replied the monk. 

“I am travelling from the village in the mountains to the village in the valley and I was wondering if you knew what it is like in the village in the valley?” 

“Tell me,” said the monk, “What was your experience of the village in the mountains?” 

“Dreadful,” replied the traveller, “to be honest I am glad to be away from there. I found the people most unwelcoming. When I first arrived I was greeted coldly. I was never made to feel part of the village no matter how hard I tried. The villagers keep very much to themselves, they don’t take kindly to strangers. So tell me, what can I expect in the village in the valley?” 

“I am sorry to tell you,” said the monk, “but I think your experience will be much the same there”. 

The traveller hung his head despondently and walked on. 

A while later another traveller was journeying down the same road and he also came upon the monk. 

“I’m going to the village in the valley,” said the second traveller, “Do you know what it is like?” 

“I do,” replied the monk “But first tell me – where have you come from?” 

“I’ve come from the village in the mountains.” 

“And how was that?” 

“It was a wonderful experience. I would have stayed if I could but I am committed to travelling on. I felt as though I was a member of the family in the village. The elders gave me much advice, the children laughed and joked with me and people were generally kind and generous. I am sad to have left there. It will always hold special memories for me. And what of the village in the valley?” he asked again. 

“I think you will find it much the same” replied the monk, “Good day to you”. 

“Good day and thank you,” the traveller replied, smiled, and journeyed on.



Tell me how this story impacts you? Does your own perception of situations evolve based on the attitude you bring? Sure makes a difference for me. Choose wisely.

Optimism: A Force Multiplier

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” — General Colin Powell

At the end of each workday when I walk out of the office building, I hear the same words while heading toward the door, “All right, Susan, you have a great night!

Christie, our company’s steward of the campus front entrance, is always ready with a smile and a kind wish to cap off the day.

Christie Melchiore, April 2023

I treasure this tiny ritual. And I know I’m not alone. Christie freely shares her genuine joy with all who pass her way.

Her daily message reminds me that everything is, indeed, “All right.”

For me, Christie has come to represent the hope and possibility of renewal. No matter how the day went upstairs, you can count on a kind smile when you walk out the door. She’s a bright light. And her light helps me cascade a light forward onto the path of those I encounter.

Are all of Christie’s days easy? I’m sure they aren’t. Are all of her moments bright? Can’t possibly be. But still she chooses to shine that light. As a wise colleague once said, “Choice is a superpower.” I am lucky to be in the path of this every-day superhero.

I’m sharing this moment with you, because I wonder if there is someone in your life whose simple acts of kindness makes a difference? Let’s call it out.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts, or even an example of someone whose optimism is a force multiplier for you.

The Four Agreements: Unlocking Your Best Self

Sometimes a book can change your life. The Four Agreements, by Don miguel Ruiz changed mine.

This international bestseller takes less than an hour read, and provides a simple (not easy) roadmap for releasing long patterns of self-judgment, worry, and self-limiting beliefs.

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

A few thoughts:

Happy Women’s Day

Meet my trailblazing Aunt Judy—-my mother’s sister and the woman I choose to highlight today on International Women’s Day.


Dr. Judith Alice Lesnaw is a virologist, photographer, and inductee of the University of Kentucky’s Hall of Fame. She was the first woman hired into Biology, the first woman to be tenured, and the first molecular biologist at the University of Kentucky. Judy is a major reason why I am here at AstraZeneca, inspiring me from the moment I could walk to believe in myself, be curious, and reach for the stars.

I’m grateful for Judy and all the women who have shaped and inspired me in my life and career. From my mother, my aunts, and grandmothers, to my mentors, colleagues, and friends, these amazing women have taught about strength, compassion, authenticity, and perseverance.

Hurray for the progress that has been made in the pursuit of women’s rights and equality, and for the many trailblazing women who have paved the way for future generations. We still have a long way to go, and I am committed to continuing this important work.

As a professional, I know the value of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. I am grateful for the contributions of the many talented and dedicated women on my team, and for the opportunity to work alongside them in pursuit of our shared goals.

On this International Women’s Day, let us celebrate the amazing women in our lives.

#InternationalWomensDay #InclusionMatters