Sounding Board


Six years ago, I came across the following adage:  Make friends with someone aged 5, and someone aged 75.

At the time, my second son could fulfill the earlier requirement, and that’s when I met my “gym buddy” Marvin Karelitz, aged 74.  He was on the treadmill next to mine, and wanted to talk about political hegemony.  Normally, I don’t like to talk while I run, because that’s my private thinking time.  However, I remembered this adage about making friends with someone aged 75, and he was close enough to fit that criterion; plus, very few people wish to talk about hegemonic power with me.


What Have I Learned?

I gained perspective to my world by adding Marvin, and my son, to my Sounding Board.  A Sounding Board is one or more people who actively listen to your ideas and provide the wealth of their experience to your position.  It is critical to have people who are not just like you, otherwise, they echo what is already in your mind.  [See Blog Diversity of Thought].  They must be bold enough to share how they see your situation; and not try to please you or tell you what they know you want to hear.  They want the best for you, without any personal gain.  Focus on your goals is key.*

*[That was Nicolette Sheridan sitting at the next table to us at Exotic Thai Café in Woodland Hills, CA.  I wouldn’t have held it against Marvin, if he was distracted.  He never noticed who was next to him.  Now THAT’S focus!]

So, here’s what I learned:

  • Institutional Knowledge. Nothing you share is ever the first time it’s happened. You can learn from others’ choices; and, avoid pitfalls.
  • Quality Improvement. Idea generation results from hearing the response(s) to your situation; producing better decisions.
  • Skill Development. Communication is enhanced when adapting how to provide context for the different generations.

The above adage and my Sounding Board are examples of Diversity & Inclusion.

Marvin turns 80 this November 23, 2014.  Happy Birthday, Marvin!  Thank you for being the “Chairman of the Board.”



Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, a Frank Sinatra fan, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2014


About Rossina

Thought Partner & Corporate Primatologist

Posted on November 23, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dear Rossina,

    I have always felt privileged and honored to know you and Eddie and to benefit from your friendship. Thank you for your kind comments and your sharing with me your wisdom, insight and intellect.

    Heartfelt thanks,


  2. Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner (Think Like a Freak), pg 104: [Think like a child] is a perfectly Freakish illustration of how, by seeing things from a literally new angle, you can sometimes gain an edge in solving a problem.

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