How do people get to where they are in life?
Since graduating from the University of Oklahoma, Taylor Doe (aka TDoe) has lived between, what Martin Luther King Jr. called, the “Two Americas”. He has worked in corporate America at SandRidge Energy, founded a tech company with one of his brothers, and for the last decade has devoted himself to building relationships and community initiatives in Northeast Oklahoma City. He has done all this while straddling two economic classes, which has given Taylor unique insights on how opportunity is unlocked for some and remains locked for others.
His recent work invites listeners to unpack what he calls ‘And Then Moments’ – the seemingly overlooked moments in life that actually help people succeed. Taylor believes when people do the work of uncovering these moments, they are then challenged to unlock opportunity for those who have historically been left out. Only then can society begin to create more equitable communities and cities where more people thrive.
His curiosity on topics such as empathy, trust, social capital, and opportunity quickly grew as he juxtaposed his own story of safety nets and unlocked opportunities against stories of those in his community with fewer resources. Taylor believes that trust is the most valuable resource in the world, which drives him to continue to create trust-building opportunities between the “Two Americas”.
Thirty-five years ago my dad handmade a felt birthday banner – yes, you read that correctly, felt, the highly compressed wool cloth that sticks to itself. He also cut numbers and the names of my siblings out of felt so he could customize the banner for each of our birthdays. So for the last 33 years I have had a picture taken in front of the ‘Birthday Banner’.
Customizable. Felt. Birthday. Banners. Aren’t. Normal – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Normal is a word that should be approached with humble curiosity. Historically “normal” has been defined by those with the most power. Therefore when we hear the word normal we should have at least two questions: One, who defined this as “normal”? Two, who was left out when that decision was made?