We are honored to share a reflection from Breakfast Club blogger @diegoarancibia about lessons learned from a pioneer and innovator, Bonnie Reiss. Bonnie was the mind behind the inception of Arnold’s All Stars, now known as the After-School All-Stars. Bonnie Reiss, a top advisor to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a lifelong liberal Democrat who found common ground with the Republican governor on education and environmental issues. Here are four tips from Bonnie for anyone to use for a better way to live.
Don’t just give your best… Give your absolute best!
It was that level of intensity that drove me to not just double, triple check things but to constantly push myself to be the best leader I could possibly be. Tapping into a tank that you think is already empty and you have nothing else to give…yet you find that spark right when you need it the most. That pressure will most definitely produce diamonds. But many cannot withstand the pressure. Endure.
Never back down from a challenge
When I was fortunate enough to see Bonnie in a boardroom… I was in awe. Her presence was majestic and fueled by her core values, she could bend steel. There have been many times when I would walk into a meeting of importance with a slight bit of anxious insecurity. Then I remember Bonnie telling us “You are the best of the best!”
Loyalty; Honor one’s relationships
Many of us do this work because it is our calling. We have been put on this earth for this purpose and to fulfill this task. It’s grinding… and working with adults is even more taxing! Yet, I remember when Bonnie was being honored by the After-School All-Stars. In a room of the rich and famous, Bonnie took the time in her speech to call out and acknowledge my colleagues and dear brothers Carlos Santini, Thierry Gonzalez, and myself. She thanked us for the work and for being the soul the organization. She never forgot us.
Never forget the nobility of this work…
In December of 2016, I went to go visit Bonnie at USC. It had been years since we last connected. I was immediately embraced and introduced to everyone and anyone in close proximity. Bonnie was intense, yet had this incredible gentleness that was displayed by her holding my hand as we walked the campus on our way to lunch. I shared with her one of my ‘aha’ moments when I recently joined the All-Stars (at the time I believe I was employee #4) with our temporary offices in Santa Monica. A member from the Prop. 49 team commented on our after school work and “how noble it was.” I never really considered this work “noble”… it was just what I did and what my family has done for generations. Bonnie emphatically reminded us that this is very much noble work, that should be honored and carried out diligently with a level of excellence.
For breakfast I had coffee with butter and 12 oz. of water.