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That's What SHE Said: Name Tags Need Not Apply

The rumors, events, people, and stories keeping the Mesa interesting


2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship

Food for thought…

Maybe I am crazy, but it is my strong belief that name tags are so limiting and such a waste of time. The universe will pull you toward who you need to meet at an event by sheer magnetic force. Think about it. It is so awkward walking up to meet someone at an event and leaning in to read a card pinned to their chest. Magnets aren’t as bad as pins and you can do the necklace version but do I really want to ruin my perfectly chosen outfit with this horrendous tag or lanyard hanging from my neck? Puh-lease. And what can you really glean from a person’s name and title? When I walk into a room sans name tag, I have faith that the energy that I put out will attract the right people. That those that are meant to cross my path do and it is for the person I am and not the name and few descriptive words on my badge. In fact, if I based the entire event on strategically reading name tags and passing up those that, according to their title, weren’t important to speak with, there would be so many missed opportunities. Not knowing who they are and what they do gives me a chance for an authentic interaction to begin a conversation. And if we click I can then genuinely ask, “What do you do?”

This past week in Washington, D.C., my theory has proven successful. Maverick that I am, throwing caution to the wind I ended up meeting amazing people like Frank Urtasun, Regional VP of External Relations at SDGE, and Deane Leavenworth, Regional VP of Government Relations-West Region at Time Warner Cable. Two individuals who I am confident, as they lift those around them up for success, will play key roles in upcoming projects like the Global Empowerment Summit and the Mesa Project. Or, get this… remember the blog post the other week about AgileJet with the photo in front of my new ride? Collided with none other than the owners of Premier Jet Richard and Bettie Sax! So go ahead, try it sometime. Dare you to go commando at your next event (without a name tag, sheesh, what kind of girl do you take me for?). Or come to my place where we are all about NTNNA: Name Tags Need Not Apply. 


Upcoming Events (I’ll be at the fun table…)

  •  WoW Without Walls Festival
    The upcoming WoW festival at La Jolla Playhouse… INSANE! Who attended last year’s hit The Car Plays? They are back and with a new twist! Check it… you and a friend get into a car for a 10 minute intimate play. You then move through a series of four more vehicles with four more vignettes but other playwrights. Only this time, they are connected through storyline and theme. There is also a chance to bring the kiddos for a bit of culture. Friday and Saturday night there are free performances of The Spheres: Australia’s Stange Fruit where “four celestial beings emerge out of illuminated globes” to tell a tale of transformation and wonder. Be sure to check out their site that lists all of the 24+ site-specific and immersive experiences running that weekend.
    October 9-11, La Jolla Playhouse


Come sit by me… 

Fernando Aguerre, Co-Founder of REEF

While waiting for more than five hundred students to file into the auditorium at Mission Bay High, I couldn’t help but notice this larger-than-life smile in every selfie of the slide show. The co-founder of REEF, Fernando Aguerre, was cheesing with fellow surf legends, international leaders and shots with our very own Bill Clinton and Obama. Those that were near him were infected by his energy. Clearly this man has charisma. 

Aguerre delivered a powerful talk to our future visionaries/thinkers. But when was I hooked? When he mumbled into the microphone that he shouldn’t swear because he was being recorded. “I have been talking for over thirty minutes and haven’t said one bad word, that’s not easy." Ha! Fernando’s magnetic spirit gets your attention and his genuine sense of caring is what seals the deal. Then throw in his absolute passion to bring people together. This man is a visionary who seems unstoppable.  Fernando is an activist and knows how to rally a crowd. At 18, he got the Argentine government to remove the ban on surfing and without permission organized the first surfing championship. 80 attended but by the following year over 1000 were competing.

Fernando shared some clear life lessons for the student body. Some of my favorites were going straight to the top. “If you want to get things done, go to the person who can make decisions. Don’t waste your time.” I am a firm believer in this strategy and any student who was paying attention and filed that little nugget in their over-stimulated teenage brain will be ahead of the curve. He also explained that moving to California to be with his brother and eventually selling his company REEF to spend time with family and pursue philanthropic dreams was a “personal not business decision.” Choosing the best path personally led him to follow his passion and the business model was shaped around what he values most—surfing and family. 

Fernando’s dream is to bring the gift of surfing to the world. “The governments haven’t figured out how to tax the ocean yet. It is free for all to enjoy and there are waves all over the world.” Since his days of organizing and DJing for crowds of more than one thousand during his youth back in the motherland, it seems that Fernando has what some would call the Midas touch. And with Tokyo’s announcement this past Monday that surfing will be one of five sports considered for the 2020 games, it seems like Fernando is that much closer to achieving his dream.

Last Wednesday I brought my six-year-old wonder boy to witness perhaps his greatest accomplishment to date—the 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship. Leo went to Surf Diva camp this summer but was a bit intimidated by the waves last week. Confused, I let Leo just soak up the experience. "Mom, why does that guy have a robotic leg? How are these people going to surf?” What a moving experience talking to team USA surfers and posing for photos. To be in the mind of that little boy as we stood with our feet in the water, watching volunteers help a young boy who’d lost one leg catch a wave. Or another man in a wheelchair use his enormous upper body strength to back into the ocean, flip, dive in and then swim out to catch a ride. It was so powerful to see the surf community come together as an inclusive society and it is the hopes of Fernando and his entourage to set a precedent for others to model worldwide. On the way to first grade I turned to Leo and said, "Don’t ever let things get in the way…. Sky is the limit." I am so curious and will be impatient to see what Fernando dreams up next. What’s your big idea? I am sure Fernando would agree… When you throw out those visions to the world, don’t let people ask why… Rather, you should be asking yourself, “Why not?”


Amanda Caniglia

Amanda earned a degree in political science at UC San Diego before embarking on a career teaching languages and dance. She is a self-described "networker extraordinaire” and co-owner of Bella Vista Social Club and Caffe, located on the bluffs of the Torrey Pines Mesa. Leading researchers, CEOs, and top graduate students frequent the café to talk science and surfing. You want to know what’s really going on around The Mesa? Ask Amanda. 

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Life On the Mesa

Where innovation and discovery happens in San Diego

About This Blog

Did you know they are making tiny livers in Sorrento Mesa? They are! Real ones. This blog will tell that story, and many others like it. Whether you're a grad student slogging it out in a lab or a post-doc grappling with funding issue, a scientist waiting on a breakthrough or a banker looking for the next big thing, or even a parent, spouse, friend or curious observer of these people, this blog is for you. It's a place to celebrate and discover what's happening on The Mesa. The science, the business, the people. The discoveries, the stories, the impact. It feels like most of us in San Diego don't know enough, yet, about this stuff. We're here to work on changing that. We'd like there to be some discussion of science, technology and innovative-type things at every cocktail party on San Diego, and hopefully this blog can help provide the fodder. 

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