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No, I’m not just a frustrated actress. I did start acting in plays when I was eight. I kept on doing theatre in elementary, junior, and high school. I’m not sure I knew why I was doing what I was doing.

No, I’m not just a frustrated actress. I did start acting in plays when I was eight. I kept on doing theatre in elementary, junior, and high school. I’m not sure I knew why I was doing what I was doing. I liked doing plays.

When I went to college, my parents didn’t want me to go into theatre (no security, no $$$). My friends didn’t want me to go into theatre (how can you change the world doing theatre?). But I couldn’t stay away from theatre. I loved doing plays.

In graduate school, I thought a lot about why I was doing what I was doing. I wanted to believe doing theatre could change the world. But I thought that might be a rationalization for doing what I loved doing.

As a young teacher, in 1980, I directed Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and started noticing that the world around me was a lot like the world of the play. Fear. Hysteria. Reagan. The rise of the religious right. That’s when I truly started to believe that theatre could help change the world. And that I had a calling to do what I loved doing. That love in itself can be a calling to do what you do.

This essay and portrait is part of a community-art and leadership project called “wdydwyd?” Tony Deifell (KNLP-16) invited his colleagues in the Kellogg Fellowship to reflect on what motivates them to follow their personal and professional paths by answering the question, “Why do you do what you do?”


“wdydwyd?” has reached over 1.5 million people worldwide and it has been used for team-building at Google, Twitter, many colleges and universities, nonprofits and K-12 classrooms. And, according to Wired Magazine, “In Silicon Valley, that question has been the hottest team-building meme since Outward Bound – and it’s spreading.” For more information: http://wdydwyd.com/leadership.


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