Carrie Miles

Director of Empower International Ministries | http://empowerinternational.org/

I have a doctorate in social and organizational psychology and I married a fellow who’s a professor of economics. This was when I finished my degree in ’82, so that’s 35 years ago, and it was really hard to get two academic positions. He was offered a job at Santa Clara University up in the Bay Area and I taught part-time for a while at Santa Clara. But that’s sort of a good way to starve to death! I’m an organizational psychologist anyway so I went into corporate training and then from there I went into management consulting. I had a very active career; I mean we were up in Silicon Valley and all these nice dysfunctional engineers who were trying to run companies, so there’s a lot of business for management consultants up there! Then my husband was offered a job in Virginia at George Mason, so I let my practice here go and we moved to George Mason. While we were there, I had been trying to write...

February 20, 2018

Tabaré Depaep

Doula | doulablebirth.com

My best friend became a doula after she accidentally attended my labor — not the birth but the laboring at home. She just found out that I was in labor and said “Can I come over and take care of you?” At my hospital there was a rule: only two people in the room — my husband and my doula and that was it. So my best friend got kicked out and she was sad because she’d labored with me for a long time and wanted to see the baby born and because she’s interested in birth. She went and took the doula training and then for a year was telling me all her birth stories. She would tell me a story and say “Now, the doctor did this,” or “The nurse told her she had to do that, does she have to? Does she have any rights?” And so the lawyer brain fired up and even though I was at home with my son, I would say “No, you have the right to bodily autonomy, they can’t force you into a caesarean; they can’t force you to get an IV or have a test or a procedure or a drug.”...

Jenny Vannatter

Funeral Director, Sunset Funeral Care, Redlands, CA

As young as two years old, I had a fascination with cemeteries. That’s kind of where it started, I loved walking around cemeteries. For some reason when I was a little girl, I was always looking for other little girls in the headstones, as odd as that sounds, but it was just more of a fascination, I think, at that age. And then I was about 7 or 8 and we lived next door to a funeral home so that just intensified my interest and maybe started molding it toward the funeral home side versus the cemetery. Back then there were no HIPAA laws and things like that, so they would just throw things away. I would literally go through their trash and I could remember seeing death certificates — back then, they would type them and so if they’d mess up, they’d throw them away. I would look at the death certificates and I was like “Oh my gosh, that’s so neat.” We ended up moving again a few years later and sure enough, if you walked out...

Melissa Badamain

Owner and Instructor at Superhooper.org

Before I started hooping, I was working as a property manager. During that time, I got into three different car accidents within a very short period and I went to therapy here and there but never fully recovered. So I started gaining weight; I was up to almost 300 lbs. And I started losing a lot of my friends because I couldn’t catch up with everybody and go out and do things because I would just be too tired or too much in pain. So I would literally go to work, come back home, and repeat.

One day my friend drags me out. We went to a Shpongle concert in Hollywood, and the first thing I see are these dancers on stage and they’re hooping. It’s so sexy and it looks like they’re swimming in the hoop. It’s so effortless. When I got home, I thought… I can’t do it. I can barely move; no, there’s just no way. So, four maybe five months go by and my friend drags me out to this festival called Lightning in a Bottle and my friend brought her r...

Debbie Lemmi, Violin and Bow Restorer

The first violin shop I worked in was in Orange and I basically just walked in there one day and said, “I want to learn how to do this.” I had always enjoyed working with my hands and wanted to learn how to fix instruments and he happened to need an assistant at the time, so he said “Why don’t you start tomorrow.” I started part-time and then I went to full-time and I worked at that shop for 19 years. I worked at another shop the last two or so years part-time, and then I moved to another shop which is in LA; that’s where I am now.

I had asked at another shop, when I was in high school, if I could just hang around and watch them and sweep their floors, whatever. And they said no. In a way, I don’t blame them because some shops are very guarded about what they do. And this happened to be a family shop, so it’s kind of like guarding family secrets.

I’ve done different tasks at different shops. At the first two, it was more general because they were smal...

Vida Barone, President/CEO, City Clerk Management Services, Inc.

Being a city clerk, my office serves as the public counter. We’re the closest staff to the residents when it comes to anything administrative. We’re their starting point. We are the corporate secretary. So if there’s any formal information that comes in or formal information that goes out, as official communication, legal communication, it typically comes through our office.

We do three main things. The first of the three things we do, is we manage the legislative agenda. We make sure that we communicate to the public when their elected officials are going to meet, why they’re going to meet, the topics that they’re going to discuss, and then we transact all the business that was agreed upon at the meeting on the public’s behalf. And then we memorialize that in the form of legal documents, ordinances, laws, resolutions, so the public can always go back and understand what had happened. The city council cannot meet until ther...

Jen Littell, Hair Stylist & Creative Director

I had to have been, gosh, maybe seven? I wanted a perm. And of course my mom was like, no, we’re not going to get you a perm, that’s ridiculous, you’re seven. I had this fascination with eighties pop culture and the hair and the look and everything. I wanted the leg warmers, I wanted the cool hair, I wanted to look like Madonna. I think that was my first fascination with hair, was trying to copy that and figuring out ways to get that. I finally had my first perm at a Fantastic Sam’s.

And then I started thinking of ways to manipulate my hair. I even had electrical wire that I would cut and then bend into a horseshoe, and I zig-zagged my hair through it. I slept on them. I slept on electrical wire! It was a very wavy, crimped look. That was kind of the in thing for a while. I don’t know how I came up with these ideas, if I was looking in magazines and I read about it somewhere, or what. I did the soft rollers, I did braids, I did everything. Ev...

Corky Nepomuceno
Community arts promoter and creator of FullertonFoundry.com

Fullerton Foundry kind of spawned from spite. These two people that I was writing for, they were trying to come up with a publication, and in the beginning, you know, they were like “Oh, we can’t pay you or anything right now, but when we start our magazine, then we can retroactively pay you for the articles you’ve written.” And that didn’t materialize, and so I stopped associating with them, of course stopped writing for them, and somebody brought up the fact that “Well, why can’t you just continue on your own? Do the same thing, writing about different businesses?” And I’m like, yeah, I totally could. So that’s when I started doing it, and it was around the same time that Fullerton was all of a sudden known around the world because of Kelly Thomas’s murder. That was of course in and of itself very devastating to happen, to that individual, but also it was such a black mark for Fullerton. And I just felt that...

Sari Cohen
Freelance Journalist

I think everybody has a connection to what they want to do for different reasons, right? When I was a kid, I was going through a really tough time when I was in high school. One of my best friends had committed suicide. I had experienced loss when I was younger — I grew up with my mom being sick — and this shook my world. This was suicide and this was very different than anything I had ever known, and I couldn’t … I was in a bad way. My mom, once a month, used to pull me from school. She would never tell me when, but she would come in on like a Tuesday, I was living in New York, I grew up in New York. So once a month, she would come in and she would randomly just take me out from school and then she would take me into the city and we would go see a Broadway show. Tuesdays were special deals, so we would take a train into New York City and we would go and look at whatever was available and she’d be like “what do you feel like seeing today?” So one day she...

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