on a boat with my mom
On a boat with mom somewhere near Copenhagen a long time ago on our first international trip and drinking my first “pop”

I got a “B” in Medieval History, I broke up with my boyfriend, I still wasn’t sure about my major, and I didn’t like my job at the local pizza parlor. Life was stressful as a freshman in college! So, I did what I always did. I called Mom. I pulled the telephone cord hard so it would reach my side of the dorm room (yes, we had phone cords), lit a candle, curled up on my new, pink bedspread, dialed (yes, we dialed), and told Mom everything.

Mom did what she always did — listened, asked questions, empathized. She…

Credit: @LeonFordSpeaks Twitter

“I’m turning pain into purpose”-those are the words that Leon Ford shared earlier this week in a session with Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path.

There were about 100 people on the virtual zoom gathering. Each of us was processing our own pain as we listened intently to Leon’s. We were all visibly inspired by Leon’s courage to take something so traumatically awful and turn it into his life’s purpose. I felt my heart hurt again around the edges when he was speaking. I could see the pain and sadness on other people’s faces. …

Art by Lo Harris

I am still processing what has been happening this past week. The protests, the rage, the sadness, the loss. What can I — a White woman — possibly say that is helpful? What can I say that would ever be enough? And, what if I say something that inadvertently offends, even as I try to express my solidarity? How do I express my clunky thoughts in a way that helps, doesn’t hurt?

I took to social media to see how others have shared (or not shared) their thoughts. I posted resources on Instagram. I donated. I retweeted posts about positive…

A few years ago, I was stuck in New York at JFK airport trying to get back to San Francisco. My fellow passengers and I were standing in our designated lines at our departure gate, ready to board. The boarding time had come and gone. After twenty minutes with no updates, people lined up to talk to the gate agent behind the desk.

But he didn’t talk to anyone — he was too busy talking on the phone. He seemed scattered, frustrated, and even angry. Then, he abruptly put on his jacket and left the desk without saying anything. We…

I feel less anxious.

I press more lightly on my Sharpie.

I meditate more-sometimes even for twenty minutes instead of the usual ten.

I laugh more at the little things.

I have started daydreaming about the big things.

I read more. (I highly recommend Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid)

I write more.

I connect more.

I am more focused.

All of this was because of a significant break up.

I broke up with social media for the month of January.

Here’s why I decided to stop scrolling on social media for a while, what I learned about being…

We had skied for three days in some very cold weather (10 degrees Fahrenheit) on some very steep terrain (the best day was 20,000 vertical feet) at Park City Mountain. So, a few of us, in our holiday family pack of seven this year, looked forward to a different, more relaxed outdoor experience.

Our snowshoeing adventure started out as planned. It was a sunny day and a balmy 30 degrees outside. Our guide, Shasta, (perfect, I know) picked us up from our house and took us to a hike that we would not have known about if we had just…

When promotions happen randomly instead of being based on any of the defined promotional criteria.

When you’re part of an interview panel and the hiring manager says a candidate isn’t a good fit because they can’t “see themselves having a beer with the candidate.”

When you walk by your company’s core values hanging on the wall and think more about how cool the design is instead of how the values show up in your daily work.

We all have to deliver presentations throughout our careers. Whether it’s an All Company meeting, a presentation to our team, a strategy overview to the board, or an external keynote presentation at a conference, we have to face our fears, put in the work, and deliver something that is authentic to us and meaningful to our audience.

So, how do we do that?

I’ve been speaking in various forums throughout my career. Every panel, fireside chat, live interview, and now podcast (!) is still challenging, even after twenty-five years of practice. But as with a lot of things I do…

Lunching & Learning at Polarr HQ.
  1. How do we keep building the culture while also keeping the essence of who we are?
  2. What are some of the things we should be thinking about as we move into our next phase of growth?
  3. How do we think about diversity?
  4. How do we take care of ourselves while the company grows?

These were just some of the great questions Borui Wang, the CEO and founder of Polarr, and his team asked me over a Lunch & Learn session. Polarr develops and operates online photo-editing software. The company works with smart creatives and empowers them to succeed at scale.

Hanging out on Clarion Alley in San Francisco.

Always the avid learner, I am constantly asking people:

What books or articles are you reading lately?

What podcasts are you listening to on your commute?

What are you writing on and speaking about this year?

What exciting projects are you working on?

And my favorite question: What are you learning?

Here’s my latest:


  • I just finished Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. It’s a reminder that simple things can have a huge impact. The author is a surgeon and highlights the need for us to be more aware of the failure points in our systems and processes. These points of…

Melissa Daimler

Systems Thinker & Doer. Writer. Advisor. Speaker. Contextualizer. Connector.

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