January 27, 2014

Random Acts… the words that matter

Posted in Entertainment, Spirituality at 2:21 am by dinaheng

It’s premiere night of Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem” in Santa Monica. Neil Patrick Harris is holding one of his twin boys, shaking hands with someone in the row behind him. Allison Janney is making her way down the aisle, along with other celebrities who have come to enjoy the evening’s incredible acrobatic acts, slapstick clown humor, and thoughtful commentary on the journey of Man as a human species.  The air is filled with excitement as wonder unfolds on the stage.

At intermission, I stand in line at the nearest “restroom” outside the Grand Chapiteau of blue and yellow tents. Not surprisingly, Cirque boasts the best in outdoor facilities. This unisex restroom is actually a small trailer with everything you’d expect in a restaurant restroom. Since the trailer is outfitted for single use, there’s a long line, but lots of people watching to do while you wait.Dinah Eng

Behind me, a boy who looks to be about three or four, is valiantly trying to hold it as the line slowly moves.  His dad encourages him now and then, saying, “You’re doing great, buddy. You can hold it. There’s just seven people ahead of us now.”

In front of me are a trio of teenage girls, giggling and snapping selfies with their cell phones. They make note of a fifty-something man, standing in front of a lifesize “Totem” poster, who’s trying to smile and take a selfie, as well.  Then, their commentary moves to another “Totem” poster, where a little boy is awkwardly trying to pose for his mom’s camera by pretending to be an acrobat.

“Duh,” says one of the teenage girls. “He could at least stand on one foot or something.” Her friends agree, making several unkind remarks about the boy.

Suddenly, the man behind me says, “That’s my son you’re talking about.” The three teens freeze in embarrassment.

After a long pause, the man adds, “Nah.  He’s not my kid.” The girls sigh with relief as he notes, “But you never know who’s listening when you talk.”

The girls went about their business and left. Who knows if they’ll remember the impromptu lesson in manners. But when I got to the head of the line, I let the fellow and his son go ahead of me.

“Oh, thank you!” said the dad, rushing his boy into the trailer. “I really appreciate this.”

Every good deed should be rewarded.


January 23, 2014

The accidental auctioneer

Posted in Art, Business, Women at 4:03 am by dinaheng

Kathleen Doyle never planned on running an auction house. But when her husband, William J. Doyle, founder and CEO of auctioneer and art-appraisal company Doyle New York, died of leukemia 20 years ago at age 53, she not only stabilized the firm but modernized a business that was antiquated in more ways than one — and turned the company into a global brand.

To read the complete story in Fortune magazine, click here.

How I Got Started: Kingston Technology and the power of memory

Posted in Business, Diversity at 3:49 am by dinaheng

You may not recognize John Tu’s name, but if you’ve ever used a flash drive or added memory to a digital camera, you’ve probably bought a storage device made by his company, Kingston Technology, the world’s largest independent manufacturer of memory products. The co-founder and CEO, 73, loves playing the drums in his own rock band — JT & Friends —  which performs for charity. The group rehearses at Kingston headquarters in Fountain Valley, Calif., where Tu’s office is a modest cubicle. The private company’s last disclosed annual revenues were $6.5 billion in 2010.

To read the complete story in Fortune magazine, click here.

How I Got Started: Wolfgang Puck’s dining revolution

Posted in Business, Dining at 3:43 am by dinaheng

It’s impossible to think of California cuisine without thinking of Wolfgang Puck. The man who popularized open restaurant kitchens, Puck, 64, introduced fine dining to the masses on TV and became one of the first celebrity chefs (a term he despises). Through his privately held company, whose revenues exceeded $400 million last year, he has parlayed his name into restaurants, frozen pizzas, appliances, cookbooks, and more.

To read the complete story in Fortune magazine, click here.


How I Got Started: St. John’s founder rises to fashion’s peak

Posted in Business, Women at 3:36 am by dinaheng

When Marie Gray, now 77, decided to save money and make her own dresses, she had no idea that her distinctive knit creations would become iconic outfits for First Ladies, corporate executives, and Hollywood celebrities. Gray, who co-founded St. John Knits with her late husband, Robert Gray, built an internationally recognized fashion house that has branched out into shoes, handbags, perfume, and bath products. The company’s current majority owner, Vestar Capital Partners, declined to reveal numbers, but Hoover’s estimates St. John’s 2012 revenue at $346 million.

To read the complete story in Fortune magazine, click here.