Maribel Manibo Lazzarino, Strategic Partner
The first time I wrote this bio, it was over 1100 words. With some trimming, I got it down to 900. Then… I sat on it. I literally sat on it and ended up refining my other pages (About, Services, etc.) Up until this very moment as I write this, I have resisted putting my bio up.
And then I asked myself why… and then I realized it was because “it was too fake”.
I’m not talking intentional dishonesty or anything, but simply expert “cover letter material” — essentially what I would submit to get an interview and how I would never describe myself to someone I met in person, especially those I like. So… I’m going to spare you that (and myself) and write this bio instead. (if you’re reading this, I succeeded, hurray!)
So now I’ve written exactly 137 words (really, really) about my resistance to write about myself. What I hope this demonstrates to you is that I’m a straight shooter. I founded this business because I love business and entrepreneurship but I always feel a little discomfort in my gut the moment I have to be “corporate”. Business<> (i.e. does not equal) Corporate. Since you’re a nice person and don’t want me to be uncomfortable (at least I hope not), I’m introducing myself this way instead. (Note: there are very few photographs of me so ignore the very corporate photo of me, for now).
Oh yes, back to me (words you will never hear me say again)…
I am an odd duck. I am Filipina (from Philippines) but born in Nigeria and left there when I was 11. Our family moved to California where I spent another 10 years before moving to Durham, NC where I currently live with my darling husband, a gorgeous and-she-knows-it greyhound, the most lovable pitbull on Earth, and a middle-aged calico cat that behaves like a puppy.
As a child and teenager, I was definitely a “creative”; I did drama, painted, wrote poems and short stories, designed web pages (when they were still a mysterious media), edited the school paper, and had hopes of becoming a journalist or novelist. Through the sage perceptiveness of a college professor, I was “seduced” into getting an Economics degree (I’m sure no one has said that ever?). And there I discovered my analytic, (daresay scientific) and highly logical side. It turns out I’m a left and right brainer (note: that this thinking about the brain has been debunked).
After a brief stint in financial services and purchasing, the Internet Bubble burst (2001) and my luck led me to a research assistant job with an international non-profit working for women’s health–I didn’t even know there was such a thing as public health. I grew up through this organization — professionally and personally. I got to meet and help people from all walks of life–community advocates, trainers, doctors, designers, government officials, programmers, scientists, executives–and work with 14 different country offices. I did all aspects of project management, developing software applications and managing the organization’s website database system that tracked key performance indicators. It was through this organization that I really learned to respect and appreciate people who work for a cause and believe in change. And that such people need and deserve support but are typically too humble or too busy to seek it for themselves. They reminded/inspired me to contribute to positive change in the world throughout my life.
I learned that what helped me the most in project management is that I’m a chameleon of sorts. I am equally comfortable talking about high-level, big-picture or abstract issues just as well as those nitty, gritty details like reviewing the logic of iterative loops in some statistical code, designing graphics and writing technical manuals. I can be a number cruncher and a designer so I easily translate between those “creative” types with those “process/linear” types. I work with an “educational” approach–always either learning a new/different way to do things or teachinh/coaching people on how to do or understand things. Helping others learn and grow has always energized me.
I love solving problems, all kinds of them!
When my husband and I were still dating, he accused me of repeatedly saying how I like things to be efficient. I like making things work better–I might have been an engineer in another life. I take to a leadership role quite easily but have no desire to be the center of attention or be in the limelight. Believe it or not, those highly “reliable” quizzes rate me as having strong introvert tendencies (that doesn’t mean socially awkward by the way, according to this). Essentially, I’m not big on small talk or cold networking but I love having meaningful communication with others, either one on one or through an environment of learning. I love to travel, so many things interest me, and I like to be mentally and physically active. I am ALWAYS learning something and I am without a doubt, a geek. In the interest of full disclosure, I am also a recovering perfectionist and workoholic. I’ve been lucky to have a husband that continually encourages me to enjoy life and have balance which I seek (though admittedly not always achieve) in my creative/logical sides, mental/physical wellness, and work/personal life.
Three years ago, I left my “day job”–seeking new problems to solve and hoping to re-acquaint myself with my creative side. When I’m not working (in this business), I do some freelance photography on the side, and help coach an after-school martial arts program (I have a second degree black belt in To-Shin-Do). A few times a year, I also help teach women’s self protection/defense seminars. Once my wrist recovers, I’ll be getting back into indoor rock-climbing with my husband. Warm weather and sunlight really revive me. In the warmer months, I’m with friends either hiking, camping, or kayaking. I’m adventurous, and love trying new things. In my different forays (at work and at play), I have interacted with different kinds of people and learned that at the heart, we are really all the same and most (all?) things get resolved through genuine, respectful communication.
I believe I’m a citizen of the world and want to make a difference in it. Or help others make a difference. Or both. Life IS potential. And reaching / seeking your highest potential as a human being is something every person can give to the world if they direct their gifts towards helping others or improving or caring for the world around them.
Whether or not you decide to work with me, I hope that you have a life and career that motivates and fulfills you and those important to you.
P.S. Did I mention I’m ambidextrous?
P.P.S. I retained 3 sentences from my previous bio and ended with about the same word count. But THIS bio actually got posted.