There are so many people that have inspired me. First and foremost is my beautiful
daughter Elizabeth Alia Masad. She is my heart, light and one of those wise souls who
shoulders great courage and generosity of spirit. She clearly recognizes that our path may
not have always been easy, but together the adventure is a reminder that learning and
engaging possibilities is a lifelong process. Parents Edward and Natalie Goldman for giving
me permission to play and venture out in the world, and I am grateful. As my mother would
say, “Don’t be afraid to try new things – the worst that can happen is you fail – so what.”
Without the steadfast support, love and humor of my brothers, Bill and Bob Goldman;
sister-in-law, Lara; niece, Joselyn; daughter, Liz; and mutts, Bella and Lulu – the journey
would not be as sweet.
A special note of appreciation to Dr. Saliha Bava who, as a creative muse and advisor, was
instrumental in bringing my research to life by encouraging me to trust my intuition,
embrace methodology, take ownership, and always dig deeper. I could not have asked for
a more brilliant or thoughtful advisor, visionary researcher, and astute editor who values the
process as much as the product. As a research mentor, she often asked provocative
questions that prompted further exploration. A simple query about how my nontraditional
softball team connected to freelance became pivotal to my methodology. While honoring
my creativity, she welcomed playful experimentation, innovative approaches and the use of
technology – but always made sure I could articulate the reasons behind my choices. I am
grateful for her wisdom, playfulness, critical sense-making capabilities, and friendship.
The academic world often felt inaccessible because of time constraints, working, single
parenting, and programs that did not offer a multidisciplinary approach. The Taos/Tilburg
program – guided by progressive thinking and respect – has brought out the best in me by
providing an adult forum for learning that welcomes academic projects that are also
accessible to the general public. I would like to thank Drs. Kenneth J. and Mary Gergen for
generously sharing their intellectual, creative, and relational gifts. They are truly role models
for living what’s next. As well, I offer a note of gratitude for the guidance and inspiration
from the founders and faculty involved with this program who have clearly imprinted this
dissertation: Dr. Harlene Anderson, Dr. John Risjman, Dr. Dan Wulff, Dr. Sally St. George,
Dr. Sheila McNamee, Dr. Diana Whitney, Dr. David Cooperrider, Dr. Jacqueline Stavros, Dr.
Celiane Camargo Borges, and Dr. Joseph Roevens.