March 2015 AAUW President’s Letter by Beth Nienow

Is happiness an active choice we can make for our lives? This is the premise of a recent book by Marilyn Tam. Tam has been CEO of Aveda Corp, president of Reebok Apparel and Retail Group, and vice president of Nike, Inc. and is an author, speaker, and consultant, working with Fortune 500 companies, governments, and nonprofit organizations. Despite these impressive credentials, Tam did not always have an easy or privileged life but endured a difficult childhood in Hong Kong where she felt unwanted by her family and was shuffled back and forth to live with various relatives. At an early age she decided to make it her life’s mission to help others attain freedom from basic wants and achieve happiness. In her book The Happiness Choice, Tam shares the principles, tools, and philosophies she has developed to help others achieve balanced, healthy, and happy lives. Some of the steps she identifies to becoming happier include 1) identify your life’s purpose, 2) realize that you can choose how you feel, 3) balance key aspects of your life in accordance with your life’s purpose, 4) be grateful, 5) be good to yourself, and 6) smile and act positively.

According to Tam, even though statistically major factors in women’s lives have improved over the past 30 years, today new expectations have been added on to the old stereotype of the traditional role, so that now we are expected to perform dual stereotypical roles as traditional homemakers as well as career women, making it even more difficult for contemporary women to achieve happiness and life balance. If you are interested in learning more about what Tam has to say, her book can be purchased or checked out from the library. She will also be in Rochester this summer as the keynote speaker for the United Way’s Power of the Purse fundraiser for the Imagination Library.

In the meantime, at our luncheon this month we will hear from a woman who has worked hard to shape her own destiny and achieve happiness and fulfillment for herself and her family. I hope you will all come out to Willow Creek to meet Habibo Haji.

Beth Nienow,   President





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