The Power of Running

Confession: I hate running. I also happen to really dislike swimming as a form of exercise, and don’t get me started about biking. So you won’t find me on the triathlon circuit anytime soon!

As an aside, I do actually like some forms of exercise. Bu I want to talk about running. Because even though I hate it, I actually do it quite a bit and I’ve even run a couple of half-marathons.

Why do I run? Because I believe running has certain “powers” – you might call them benefits. And I also acknowledge that those of you that swim and bike almost certainly feel that those activities have similar powers as well.

Now I don’t need to go to deep into any research here. Running clearly has health benefits, and when you do it as exercise you get to enjoy those benefits along with some pretty certain mental health benefits. Your day will start off better if you run in the morning, for example. Or you can clear your head of the day’s stress with an afternoon or evening run.

Running also gives you a self-esteem boost. You can (and should) make it goal-based, and when you achieve a goal you feel good about it. You can measure your improvement, like when training for a race, both in distance and speed.

Running provides community. You can run with others, you can push each other to get better, you can motivate each other, often just by your presence. How good does that feel?

This week, running has taken on a new meaning for me and for others in Las Vegas. Like the Boston Marathon the first time it was run after the bombing, this marathon is the first big outdoor event in Las Vegas since the Route 91 shooting. The organizers – Rock’n’Roll Marathon/Competitor Group – have done an awesome job of embracing their ability to heal through running. Check out their videos online or on social, that highlight the power of running in a whole new way.

I am not in shape for the half marathon this year, but I will be there rooting on those who are gathering to help us continue to heal as a community. And I’m going to start training now for next year! Just please don’t change it to the Las Vegas Triathlon!!!



Golden Knights need you Vegas!

You came out in force, Vegas. A surreal homestand in October may have been driven by adrenaline, both for the players and the fans. But we can long rejoice in the magic of that month. What we can’t do is take our foot off the gas. The team or us. So here are some practical things you can do RIGHT NOW to be a great (not just good) Golden Knights fan:

  1. Watch them on the road. Especially with others. House parties, local bars, whatever. Scream as loud at the TV as you do at T-Mobile Arena.
  2. Keep going to games. We won’t always have a straight homestand, so be sure you know the upcoming schedule and get prepared, ensure you gather the family or friends to use your other tickets and get your gear! Also, I know the holidays are coming. Now is the time to make new family traditions, like the Friday afternoon game after Thanksgiving. Selfish plug, we also have some great Thanksgiving basketball
  3. If you can’t go to games, give your tickets to friends. Don’t sell them to visiting fans!

Vegas, you’ve started incredibly strong as a pro sports town. You’ve received national recognition, shocking the world I’ve called it before. Now we get to prove we have staying power, I know you can do it because you are #VegasStrong!!!



One month

One month. 31 days. How much can change in such a short time.

One month ago, we mourned. We cried. We hugged.

One month ago we couldn’t believe we lost friends, family, innocence.

In a month, we have fed each other, consoled each other, celebrated each other.

For one month, a hockey team made a miraculous run that helped heal a city. We will never forget it, and will always be thankful to them.

For one month we’ve listened to people talk about what happened like we weren’t here, like it didn’t hurt for them to make up stories about what happened.

In this the hardest of months, we learned who our real friends are, who the real leaders are, what the “good guys” are made of.

Is it all over, after this month? Not by a long shot. We won’t ever know when it’s over. We won’t know when we are healed. We just have to move forward. Together.

Some months going forward will be better than others. Not a month will go by when we don’t remember how hurt we were, or how strong we’ve been.

I’m amazed at myself and those around me for surviving this month. My only hope is for another month. More healing. More togetherness. More empathy. More caring.

One month. Seems like yesterday. We are starting to look like we used to. But we will never be the same. I think we are better. Only one month at a time will we be able to tell for sure.




Coping isn’t a fun thing. The word doesn’t even sound good, it sounds depressing. Because we associate with the “necessary evil” of plodding through a less-than-desirable situation. It’s the “struggle” and “deal” portion of the definition.

Currently, those of us affected by the Route 91 shooting are coping with a variety of things – grief at loss of life, trauma of being there and witnessing the horror, and a variety of other emotions and issues like guilt, anger, fear of crowds, etc.

Other times, we might be coping with a different situation. Maybe we are stuck in a bad relationship, maybe work isn’t going the way we want, maybe there is an illness in the family or with ourselves. Any number of “life things” can cause us grief, and require us to cope.

Of course, there is more to the definition of coping: “to struggle or deal, especially on fairly even terms or with some degree of success” or “to face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties, especially successfully or in a calm or adequate manner.

These parts of the definition give us hope. It’s not a panacea, it doesn’t say “with complete success” or “like it never happened;” but it allows us to face the negative with a workmanlike approach and get THROUGH the bad.

I have been posting a special affirmation this month since the shooting:

      Part of coping is keeping to routine. So I’m still posting an affirmation:

      I will get through this, and I will help others do the same

It is important to know that we have to get THROUGH the bad, not get stuck in it. There is no other option. We either overcome the grief or it overcomes us. And we have to do it TOGETHER. If you are stuck in mud, you need someone on solid ground to reach out with a hand or a stick to grab onto.

Finally, remember that coping is also a noun, meaning a finishing cap on a wall or molding. If we do the verb part of coping right, we build ourselves stronger for future hurts and pains and grief.

leadership, personal

My UNLV Homecoming Message

I think this year is particularly important that I say a few words about UNLV Homecoming. You see, I was born and raised in Las Vegas and I graduated from UNLV and serve on the Alumni Association Board. And most importantly, I also lead the live entertainment team at MGM Resorts, so homecoming means something special after the tragic events of a few weeks ago. It’s obviously been tragic and traumatic in so many ways, and will continue to be. But it’s also been inspiring to see the amazing acts of kindness, heroism, support and human spirit over the past few weeks, from our entire community, and our University played a big part. I have never been more proud to be born a raised in Las Vegas, and a UNLV graduate. Because I know now what it means to be #VegasStrong.

I start by addressing those who have come back to campus for the first time since graduating. I hope you got a chance to walk around our campus; if you are like a lot of us who strayed away from UNLV for a bit after graduation, the campus has probably changed significantly since you were last here. I remember my first time, thinking aliens had kidnapped our old little library and supersized it with gamma rays or something! The campus is growing, and becoming more modern, and becoming more of a student-focused campus, all great things for us as we stand at our 60th anniversary. Your job as an alumnus is to not let this be the last time you come back.

But the changes don’t stop at the physical changes. Those of us who have now been coming back and gotten used to the physical changes notice the amazing achievements from our students and faculty. Every corner of this campus is excelling in ways large and small. Our solar houses continue to rock the global scene, we compete and win globally in business case competitions, our entrepreneurship program is phenomenal, our design and engineering students regularly make breakthroughs, our robotics program is top notch, our student athletes continue to lead their competition in so many sports; the list goes on. Your job is an alumnus is to find out about these things, celebrate them, and advertise them in your networks.

Finally, there is so much hope for the future if we continue to come back. Top tier initiatives around campus, a new medical school to change healthcare forever in Las Vegas, the new Hospitality building (don’t worry Lee Business School, I hear we are trying to get one too), a new football practice facility. Most importantly, an energized leadership and staff that is focused on connecting your University to you. Community like never before. It’s that connection that will make both the University and Community better than they could be on their own. And you have a big job as an alumnus.

You need to keep coming back and be ENGAGED. Join the alumni association at our events – tailgates, seminars, networking, the arts – and find yourself making serendipitous connections and having timely conversations that lead to advancements in our goals. Connect with your college: help the Dean of your school strategize ways to improve the curriculum and make learning more real for students; become a guest lecturer at classes, or a part-time instructor; attend career fairs and other events where you can share your wisdom with students.

If we do our jobs as alumni, we will continue to welcome back our peers for the next 60 years, and they will continue to be awestruck by the physical changes on campus, the achievements of our students and faculty, and the engagement level of their predecessor alumni. This will be your legacy, one that truly represents the ideals of #VegasStrong.


A city to be proud of

I have never been more proud to call Las Vegas home than this two weeks. I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect from us in a time like this. I like to think we are a great town, with great people, but I’m biased because I have never really known anything else. I now truly know how much spirit there is and how strong we are.

In the last two weeks, we have cried together, hugged together, cheered together. We have given each other blood, food (lots of food), therapy, time to rest and time to get back to normal. We have realized how stupid some of the things we focused on really are, and we know much more about what is important.

When we went through and survived the Great Recession, I always told people – and still do – that those with the longest memory will be the ones to succeed in the long run. Meaning we shouldn’t forget what factors led to us hurting so much in the recession. I think this event will be like that too; but not for the lessons learned from an attack. We will need to handle that for sure. But more important for the health of our community is to remember what it is like to support each other. To care for each other. To respect one another. To realize we are each an indelible and irreplaceable link in this community’s chain.

It is taking all of us to get through this together. If we can get through this together, think what other amazing things we can do together.

I have never been more proud to call Las Vegas home than this two weeks. But the best part is that I’m confident this won’t be the last time I say that about my hometown. Thank you Las Vegas, for giving a born and raised kid renewed faith in all of us, and great hope for the future.


One week

One week. Seven days. 168 hours. Each one of them felt like a struggle. They went so fast, but took forever.

I’ve had weeks in my life where I feel like I can’t even remember what happened, or felt like I got nothing done. We’ve all had them. Reminds me of Tim Urban’s Ted Talk, where he shows a picture of every week of a 90 year life.

90 week life.png

Every week is precious. Not every week was like this one. And I won’t forget this one.

A week ago, music fans were a little more innocent. They weren’t perfectly innocent, because unfortunately, mass violence has happened at music events far too often in the past couple of years. But they lost some more innocence this week.

A week ago, we had Neysa, now we don’t. What we have is a host of people supporting her family, especially her three sons.

A week ago, Las Vegas didn’t know how strong it was or could be. It knows now. I’m not sure anyone could have predicted the height and depth and breadth of our strength. I pray we haven’t even seen the half of it, because we are going to need so pretty superhuman strength for a while.

A week ago, I didn’t know what tears were. I cried so much n March when my dad died. More than I ever had, maybe cumulatively, in my life to that point. But that was nothing. This week, I cried 58 times that much. Wait, make that 530 times that much. Check that, 2 million times more. Because everyone in Las Vegas was affected, and I hurt for them.

A week ago, I cherished the smile of some great people at work. Smiles I took for granted during other weeks on that grid. Smiles I pray I never take for granted again.

A week ago I couldn’t fathom how much a team of people – my team – could hurt. But I also couldn’t imagine the strength a team of people – my team – could display. And love. And compassion. And hugs, so many hugs.

A week ago, we wondered when our hockey team would win its first game, now we wonder how they could lose, seeing as how they are #VegasStrong.

A week ago, some people became part of history, others became heroes, many more became witnesses to grieving, healing and everything in between.

My prayer is that this coming week, we remember them all like we did this week, we grieve and heal together, we come together to discuss how we can prevent this in the future.

For this one week, I hope we are #VegasStrong. We will take care of the weeks after that later.