Ease your student supervision speed bumps.

A Doer like Robin Fontana is taking Karma to the Next Level

Robin has more to impart for your consideration.  As in every interview, I ask a series of questions that are built off the idea of a bucket list.  What the doers would encourage readers to do….
Once in your life….

“Forgive someone and let whatever resentment or anger they may be carrying with them go. And I mean really forgive, not one of those yeah-whatever-it’s-cool shallow kinds that’s going to wash away the first time you accidentally dredge up the past. You don’t have to like the person, but you should let whatever that person did to you go. It’ll be one of the coolest and strongest things you can ever do.”

In the next week….

“Call someone they just haven’t talked to in a while and make a date to catch up. And I mean call, hear their voice. It is so easy to blow people off because we are all so busy. And it is really easy to blow them off when we haven’t heard their voices for a while. So call.”


“Smile at a stranger:  the neighbor out walking the dog, the cashier at the market, the old woman in the park. We tend these days to not make eye contact, much less smile at each other. Smiles create smiles, they feel good, they are easy and cheap.”

Advice is great, but sometimes questioned if one wonders if that person actually lives out his or her own advice.  The saying, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’  This simply does not apply to Robin.  If you are reading this and do not know her, you’ll just have to trust me.  She is as real as they come.  She lives her values and the knowledge she has imparted to us is deeply engrained into who she is.
1014541_549231945118573_1624601937_oI believe part of this authenticity comes from her willingness to evolve and change.  She discussed the progress through her career, teaching college, high school, and middle school with subjects in English and History.  “Now suddenly I am looking at getting my doctorate and not knowing where I am going from there, I feel like I am in another reincarnation.” It seems like another cause/effect, Karma-like experience is at play.
The technical definition of reincarnation is a religious concept that the spirit after death takes a new life/body form.  This depends on the moral quality of the previous persons life.  Are we getting back to karma again?  I asked Robin what she would want to come back as, and she replied,

“I got a lot of teasing about my name as a kid.  I got called bird brain and little robin red breast and bird butt, and one boy in fifth grade once stuck a dead sparrow in my desk.  Jerk.  So, for a while there, I wanted nothing to do with birds.”

I also know the impact a name can have on a kid.  For a while, I would do anything to change my weird name.  Now, I love my name but still grow tired of answering the question about Josie & The Pussy Cats or if I’m relieved to ‘not be Josie Grossy anymore’ (from the movie Never Been Kissed).
Time has allowed her to make peace with her “fine feather friends.”  Now she says, “if I were to come back again, I think I would actually want to be a bird.”  Specifically a crow, whom Robin described as high order thinkers, with the ability to fly.  They also, “have those great smoky alto singing voices, so no reedy little cheep-cheeping for them.  Crows got something to say; they say it loud.  I like that.”
Robin is aware that this bird may have a bad reputation or as she called it, “they hang in things called murders.”  As a result if she comes back as a crow she will, “have to work from the inside to change that.  Maybe we could start calling our groupings confabs.  A confab of crows.”
I would totally fly with her confab of crows.
This is it, last page found by clicking 6!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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