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SOAR Story #3 - If I had known then what I know now

Back in August 2020, I posted a blog about SOAR stories. SOAR stories are a fantastic way to reflect on Situations that seemed challenging at the time because of certain Obstacles. In order to succeed, you took Action and the Result was something you can be proud of, and which contributed to who you are today. It built character.

You many think that these stories mean nothing. After all, they are just stories. However, ALL stories have a meaning; ALL stories disclose something about the characters in them. The character-traits are what keep people interested and yearning for more.

The story is only one part of what makes doing this exercise valuable. The more important part is rediscovering who you are at your core and what attributes distinguish you from others when faced with challenges.

I'd like to continue sharing some of my personal SOAR stories and the characteristics that they exhibit.

What are some of your SOAR stories? If you can't see your inner #basass, we can work together to rediscover it! I'd love to hear them and publish them on this blog!


My first job out of college was at Gerber Scientific Products, Inc., an industry-leading, pioneering, state-of-the-art technology company specializing in Computer-Aided-Design/Computer-Aided-Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems for various industries. I worked in the sign-making division. Instead of computer design --> to pen plotter --> to paper, think computer design --> to knife plotter --> to vinyl.

Because of my Japanese language skills, I was hired on as a Sales Manager for the Asia-Pacific region, which included Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Japan was the largest Asian market and would be my “home base” when traveling.

Gerber’s sign-making systems were quite elementary in that the equipment allowed precise cutting of letters, with a limited number of fonts, and only in roman languages, or "single-byte characters".

Although there are a lot of roman-character signage in Japan, in order for a Japanese sign maker to cut Japanese characters (or "2-byte" characters), he would need to hand-cut the vinyl material. This is very time-consuming and precision is important.

In the early 1990's, Microsoft’s word-processing software allowed users to incorporate pictures, and the number of fonts was 3x or 4x what was currently available. But it was still only in roman languages.

I collaborated with Microsoft Japan, Compaq Japan and NEC to develop the world’s first Japanese-language CAD/CAM sign machine, paving the way for 2-byte character languages to become available globally. Gerber’s software ran on Microsoft’s OS, and the Graphix Advantage™ Japanese version was only available on HP and NEC hardware at the time.

Remember, this was the early 1990's. I was a female in my 20s working for an engineering company, and the "atta-girl" pat-on-the-back was the acknowledgement and appreciation I gladly accepted. In hindsight, I should have asked to be included on the patent or to have greater recognition as this new CAD/CAM equipment changed the industry in Asia. Regardless, it is a contribution that I am still very proud of.

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