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TOM KEZIAH

Q. What book (or books) have you gifted the most, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

I keep the Gospel of Matthew and To Kill a Mockingbird in rotation, in part because their main characters are so humane. There is just something compelling and comforting about a person with the willingness to bear the shame and blame of others without being permanently buried by them.


Q. If you could have one gigantic billboard with anything on it, what would it say and why?

I’ve been so fortunate in life to know people who are honest and clear communicators, and who are willing to tell me what they really think. And I’ve often experienced the meeting-of-the-minds or the healthy agreement-to-disagree that take place when two people are willing to have a hard conversation and also to be clear and kind in it. But I’ve also experienced (especially in leadership) the barrier to those productive conversations: the assumption that hard conversations, clear communication, and disagreements are by nature unkind. I would love to communicate to others that which I’ve learned from my closest friends and family: “Clear is kind; unclear is unkind” (Brené Brown).

Q. In the next 5 to 10 years, what area(s) of your life do you most desire to grow and improve in? By growing in this area, how would this possessively effect your life and those around you?

After complaining to my mom about the busyness of life, she empathetically invited me to reconsider my attitude: “I know what you mean – why can’t I be happy when I’m happy?” In the years ahead, I am eager to become less emotionally swayed by my circumstances and more satisfied and grateful.