Oak Communications
April 2011
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I went to the door of my friend's home in New Orleans with the key I had picked up at her workplace. We had carefully planned that I could relax at her home until she got back from leading a workshop. We would then go out to dinner.

I took the key out of the "special key pocket" in my purse. It didn't work. I tried it one way and then another. I checked the number on the door to make sure I was at the correct house. I tried the key again. I went back to my car, grabbed some reading material and walked to the neighborhood café that my friend had recommended.

It was a nice walk there, and the café had lots of character. I ordered an herb tea and sat at a table with a woman who was working on her computer. Soon after a man sat down in the corner and played his guitar and sang. I read the local papers, along with some of the materials I had picked up at meetings that day.

It was a pleasant way to spend the hours from 5 - 7 pm, though it would also have been nice to be at my friend's home where I could have put my feet up and maybe even taken a nap.

I met her back at her home just as she pulled up. I gave her the key and she was puzzled. It didn't work for her either. Then she asked me if there had been a white tag attached to the key. I said I didn't think so. She was sure she had tested the key.


Then a light turned on in my mind, and I went to the "special key pocket" in my purse. In the bottom of the pocket was a key just like the one in her hand, except it had a white tag.

Before I left home, rather than bring my full set of keys with me to New Orleans, I had grabbed a single house key. It had the same yellow plastic and a similar ring without the white tag. I had been trying to open her door with my house key.

In my tired state, it hadn't occurred to me to dig deeper into my purse. I assumed that my friend had either given me the wrong key or there was some special technique to opening her door. 


Earlier in the day I had an appointment with a dermatologist. As I sat in the café and thought about the appointment, I realized that I had unanswered questions. If only I had taken a breath and asked myself, "do I have the information that I need to make a good decision?" Now I will need to take some extra steps to get my questions answered.


In both situations, I realize that if I had asked a few more questions, dug a bit deeper, I could have saved myself and the others involved not only time but reduced our stress as well.  


Be well,

Sue Schleifer


Recommendations for the Curious   

Inspired thinking
Here is a link to a wonderful spoken word artist, Sarah Kay, in a TED presentation entitled, If I should have a daughter...

I recently wrote a story for The Independent Weekly's "Cool Town" issue. My story is entitled, Coming 'Home': Lafayette is unique in the way natives want to stay, strays want to return and newcomers feel like family.
Writing Down Dementia Workshops

My colleague, Kim Fowler, and I will be presenting our Writing Down Dementia workshop at the 2011 Annual Conference of the American Society on Aging, entitled Aging in America in San Francisco.


Please come see us if you will be at the conference.


We continue to lead an on-going group in Oakland, CA for both people who join in person and a couple of us who join via conference call. I also lead periodic workshops in Louisiana.


Please let me know if you would like more information about Writing Down Dementia workshops.


Consulting Services  

Headshot Sue


I help organizations to articulate their vision and goals so that their work is focused and directed. Together we strive for clear communication, whether written or spoken, which contributes to employee and customer satisfaction.



As leaders grow personally and expand their knowledge and skills, so does their organization and the people that make it all happen. I help people work together effectively and learn from one another in order to build strong organizations.



Excitement and challenge come from thinking creatively and utilizing the talents of each person in an organization. By building a learning and listening environment, creative ideas are tapped and effective plans, systems, and solutions can be implemented.


Areas of Consultation

  • Organization effectiveness and structure
  • Leadership development
  • Executive coaching
  • Effective communication, both internally and externally
  • Developing strategies for organizational growth
  • Strategic planning
  • Fundraising and board development for nonprofits

Sue Schleifer
510.316.3319 - cell
Oak Communications

Lafayette, LA and throughout the country

510.316.3319 - cell

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