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A Call for Inspiration

Where do you focus your attention when you’re not in the office?

Do you have a hobby? Do you like to cook, bake, or otherwise create? Do you advocate for a cause or volunteer? Do you teach or coach? Participate in a sport or compete in some way?  Are you starting a program or completing one?

WIM wants to hear from you.

As part of the 40 Inspirations blog series, WIM is highlighting members of our extended community and focusing on their interests and passions outside of USC (and how those things positively impact you when you’re at work).

Whether or not you see what you do as inspirational, we do.

And, consider this – one goal of this ongoing  project is to further create and support our social and professional network, which in turn is a critical tool to reduce stress and promote wellness within WIM and beyond.

Let’s build each other up, one Inspiration at a time.

Stacy Patterson, WIM Board, Member-at-Large will assist you in crafting and or editing and formatting your submission. Contact her directly to get started.

Please share this post widely and encourage others to participate as well!


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40 Inspirations: Katie Boeck

*The featured image for this post is Katie, Then (in the NICU isollete) and Now (fighting on!)


“I volunteer at Cedars-Siani Medical Center, and specifically in Good Beginnings, which is a part of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I spent the first 6 weeks of my life there, and the way I give back is to volunteer my time to the NICU. Every year, I am a part of a team of volunteers that makes costumes for the babies in the NICU. It gives me a chance to give back and to thank those who saved my life. I can’t thank them in person, but I can help care for the babies in my own way. I also used to help organize the yearly reunions.

The biggest impact this has had is to remind me to care for people of all ages. I got my Master’s in Gerontology and learned how to better support older adults, and I work every day with college and graduate students, and this helps me remember those who are just starting out in their lives. Volunteering at Cedar-Siani reminds me of what is important and how some of the stresses at work are not as big a deal as those little babies fighting for their lives.

It also reminds me to be kind to all because we never know what people are dealing with.”

Katie in action with the NICU costume program organizer and team members:

A few of the articles on the program (several also include video):


Learn more about and connect with her by visiting Katie’s LinkedIn page.


What inspires you? Where do you focus your attention outside of the office? Your story matters to us. We’d like to hear from you.

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40 Inspirations: Jennifer Severa

“I have always used physical activity, particularly running, to help balance out and combat the stresses in life. What moved me into another direction was after my second knee surgery, when I was on crutches for 3.5 months. Then, I had to learn to walk again because my leg atrophied, and during this recovery process, my five-and-a-half-year relationship ended. These two events pushed me into looking at alternative methods of healing myself, physically and mentally, including mediation in all of its forms. I then met a person, who ended up becoming one of my closest friends, and together, we started to explore Kundalini Yoga – and became avid followers of this practice.

Kundalini is a yogic science that uses sound, mantra, energy healing, exercise and meditations to release trauma, allowing the body to heal itself.  And, since I had stopped running, I started hiking, especially going on morning walks to watch the sun rise. Something about being in nature, can really refresh the soul. I like to document a lot of my journey via photography, which I have been practicing for years. Only recently I started giving away my “art” to people.

These practices and activities are just a few that help inform my days in the work environment and help me feel more balanced – and happy. Moreover, I’ve also learned through my physical struggles, an important tenet, and that is, it’s ok to ask for help. I have been fortunate to have many amazing mentors in my life and work to pay this support forward. It can be quite inspiring when you see people grow – and learn to fly on their own.

Ultimately, I believe kindness and understanding are the keys to a healthy work and personal life, and for me, the practices of meditation, kundalini yoga, convening with nature, art, and solid friendships – can help one combat what life can throw at you at any moment. To be a kinder human, I believe you must start with yourself. And, while I still have struggles – since we are human – as I try to evolve, and learn from my missteps, the challenges don’t seem as difficult.”

To learn more about her, visit Jennifer’s LinkedIn page. 

Samples of Jennifer’s photography:

What inspires you? We’d like to hear from you.

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40 Inspirations: Kristine Moe

“It all started with a ‘train friend,’ then WIM President, Elaine Padilla, a colleague I had by happenstance met while commuting to work. When I found myself in a place of feeling ‘stuck,’ my ongoing conversations with her opened possibilities: to WIM first and then to the USC Master Coaching Program. The more I heard, the more I was determined to be a part of it. With the eventual support of my department, I delved into the course, learning first about myself, so that I could better lead others through a process of inquiry, reflection and empowerment. I was hooked. (I still am!) Ultimately, I joined a few fellow converts-to-coaching, creating a mastermind group to encourage each other through the certification process and to take on future opportunities. Two years after the program, I obtained an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and began volunteering for the Associate Coaching Program through the USC Center for Work and Family Life.

I continue to coach inside and outside of USC because I see the benefits of these techniques in every aspect of life. I believe our mindsets influence our behaviors, which in turn, determine outcomes. How lovely it would be if we all operated with a growth mindset that impacted ourselves and those around us in positive ways. I believe this is possible. And, that is why I am excited to continue my work as a coach.

I have been mentored; I have mentored; I have been coached and led into leading and coaching through my experiences with USC WIM.  In WIM, I find a sisterhood of curiosity and ambition, of driving forward and resting, when that is needed as well. It has been my space to see possibilities and to get ‘unstuck.’ Thank you, my dear colleagues and friends of USC WIM. You are my greatest inspiration, and you have brought me the greatest satisfaction in working at USC.”

To learn more about her journey, visit Kristine’s LinkedIn page.

The Mastermind Group: Susan Metros, Elaine Padilla, Kristine, and Anna Quyen Nguyen

What inspires you? Know someone we should highlight? We’d like to hear from you.


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40 Inspirations: Ginger Mayerson

“I originally trained as a composer, but I have always made collages for my own amusement. The composition skills I learned as a composer have been put to good use in making collages. In 2006 I began to make them more often and more seriously so I could post them online, which was in vogue just then. I am fascinated and delighted by making art in the arrangement of images, shapes and textures that spark a new view, new angle, new thinking on the arrangement of reality in the viewer (and in me, too).

After spending decades developing the focus and intensity to make art, it’s nearly impossible to shut it off from 9-5 M-F for a day job. I’ve been very lucky at USC to work for/with people who 1) quickly figured me out; 2) knew how to channel my unique skills and strengths without exploiting them; and 3) appreciated and supported me as a person, employee, and artist. I’ve worked a few jobs in a few places, and what I’ve found at USC is a rare thing in a hard world for artists.

So I’m happy to rechannel my focus, intensity, and even inspiration, when appropriate, into my work at USC. In fact, after 21 years here, I wouldn’t know how not to do that. I would, however, like to mention that at various points in my past, I’ve managed to live on my art, but it came at the price of artistic compromise and personal sacrifice (like not seeing a doctor or dentist for over 5 years). I think it’s better to have a day job, and make the art I want when I can. Charles Ives and T.S. Eliot managed it working day jobs; I see no reason why I can’t do that, too.”

To see more of her work, visit Ginger’s website

Ginger Mayerson College (website photo and link)



What inspires you? Know someone we should highlight? We’d like to hear from you.