Creativity… an innate gift that is inspired by loved ones and begins at home. Last month was a very bittersweet moment for me to say the least. As many of you know through following my journey via social media, my father fell ill during the time of my nonprofit’s (Association of Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs) “AOWIE” March 18, 2017 Ocean County, New Jersey, Conference.
My father, the most brilliant, innovative man to grace this earth, was my teacher and mentor through life. Having him live in San Antonio, thousands of miles away from me at 86-and-a-half-years-old was tough, but not a day went by that we didn’t communicate and showcase our love for one another. My father’s past is inspiring to say the least. He was a retired director of radiology and a proud veteran. It was very hard to live so far away from my dad, especially as he got older. That being said, we didn’t let the distance get in the way of maintaining a beautiful relationship full of support and encouragement on both the giving and receiving ends.
He and my mother were great innovators and teachers to both myself and my brother and sister. They were loved and respected by all who knew them. My mom passed away seven years ago, but not without encouraging our family to be creative and to love one another. She and my father instilled the “inventing bug” into my heart and soul early on.
I spoke with my father on the phone several times leading up to the AOWIE conference. Each time we spoke, he encouraged me to continue to help people who needed help. My father was a giver, not a taker. I follow in his footsteps by lifting others up, two hands at a time through AOWIE.
Each time I spoke to my father he would say, “Just come see me after your conference…” As always, dad was putting others first! It brought me great happiness to share with him a special contest I was hosting through AOWIE titled, “2 Minute Elevator Pitch.” A cash prize along with my mentorship was to be awarded to an entrepreneur with an outstanding product ready to become the next multimillion- dollar invention and more importantly, ready to inspire and empower others to live their best life. Well, dad loved that contest. He wanted to meet the winner of the 2 Minute Elevator Pitch and show his appreciation through a congratulatory celebration. You see, it meant so much to him to have the opportunity to speak with the winner as a way to spread the encouragement we all need to hear sometimes when it comes to pursing a dream.
Of course, I took the first flight out to San Antonio after the conference ended. When I arrived, my father gave me the warmest welcome and told me how proud he was of me. This was exactly what I needed to hear! He asked about the conference, he wanted details and so, details he got! His biggest concern of all, “Who won the in the 2 Minute Elevator Pitch Contest?” he asked. Then followed with, “and what did they invent?”
I told dad her name is Elise Graves and her product is called Wall Bees. The product is a curtain bracket that simplifies the process associated with hanging curtains. Now, with Wall Bees, you can kiss your screws goodbye! He immediately went into innovation mode. He said, “It’s a great idea! She can very easily create additional products to accompany Wall Bees… other tools.” I laughed so hard because I knew he was going to go there, I love his mind and him!
Please keep in mind my dad was barely speaking at this time, but he still had the presence of mind to use his innate creativity to help and inspire others like Elise. All he cared about was helping others (just like Elise) take their inventions or whatever goals they may have to the next level.
The barrage of questions kept coming. My dad asked me, “Who else was I going to help and what inventions am I currently working on?” I told him that finally my “Lugeze Bow” is in the process of being manufactured, after months of bad prototypes, which by the way, is not unusual when it comes to building products. Did you know it’s common for your first couple of prototypes to be a little off? Dad was thrilled to know that I was still working on my own inventions in addition to following in his footsteps of spreading kindness and helping others. He said, “Never stop inventing Lisa, that’s what you do! You are an inventor!” I said, “I know dad, I got it from you and mommy.”
He asked me when I was going to do a conference in Texas and I told him I would be coming back to Texas in May to speak at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit in Houston… he was thrilled!
My dad was leaving us with the encouragement and confidence that we needed from him. He encouraged my sister, my brother and the rest of my family to continue the work that we do to lift and inspire others. Most importantly, he continued to lift us up as he was leaving this journey and transitioning to the next, to meet The Almighty Father who made him our father.
Fast forward, several weeks later, on Good Friday, our father, my dad, left us with his love and laughter. He inspired us all to keep moving forward with our creativity and to share with others what he so openly shared with all of us for years. Thank you daddy, for encouraging us all to use the creativity that God gave us. Farewell! I love you always and forever.
Creativity truly does start at home! Dozens of patents, trademarks ,and copyrights later, I am able to assist others to invent, manufacture, and market their products, all due to my parents. It’s important to encourage your children to be kind to others and to be creative, in all that they do at a young age. Trust and believe, they will carry it with them for the rest of their lives. I know I will.
Founder of Inventing A-Z, Lisa Ascolese, has been taking ideas—hers and many others—from concept to fruition for over 35 years and counting. This New Jersey-based entrepreneur, consultant, and agent has successfully created, patented, marketed, and launched dozens of products in QVC, HSN, national retail stores and more. Lisa Ascolese’s website is www.inventingatoz.com. Please feel free to email her at Asktheinventress@gmail.com or Lisa@inventingatoz.com.