I received the best compliment I’ve ever had in my entire life and it almost brought me to tears. It wasn’t that I was pretty. Or that I was funny. Or that I was smart. Not sure if any of those are really true, but I tell myself I am anyways.

I was sitting in a meeting with Francine Hardaway and she said without flinching, “jenny has unbelievable grit.” And that’s when it really hit me that grit is an incredible honor. It’s something all leaders must gain and it’s the hardest most painful badge to gain. And it makes me think, how do I pass that on to my daughter. How do you teach grit. You can be born pretty, but you aren’t born with grit. Everyone’s grit comes from different experiences. My grit comes from being a first generation American, seeing my refugee parents fight tooth and nail to make a life here, having started with nothing but the kindness of strangers, teased and challenged for looking different, speaking different, acting different. Grit started as a thin flaky shell over my scrawny little body, then slowly it hardens and another pastry-thin-shell grows over that, repeat again and again. Each hard experience adding to my “grit shell”. I flexed and grew a little bit stronger when I lost my job in 2009. A little stronger when experiencing deceit of partners, experiencing great loss of a child, overcoming all odds to create something everyone said wouldn’t work.

Today we’re at it again. It’s scary. And I think I’m developing a habit or an addiction to challenge. Its the high you feel when you’ve strategized and solved the impossible. It’s about pushing through when everyone else gives up. It’s about not accepting no. So how do you teach grit? You don’t. You let people fall. You let your children learn. The only thing you can do is help cushion the fall with pillows. And that’s what CO+HOOTS does. CO+HOOTS provides a safe place to fall. It allows for failure. It encourages collaboration which leads to success.

I support CO+HOOTS because the result is going to be so powerful, we can really transform phoenix. I hope you support too.



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