Leadership Insights from Women at Oracle

The Starfish Pin that Symbolizes How Easy it is to Make a Difference

Guest Author

As Ann wrote in the comments section of yesterday's blog, the theme at the Mass Conference for Women in Boston earlier this week focused on making a difference in the lives of others:

"Shine your light was the message from Maya, but also from Martha
Coakley who wore a starfish pin to symbolize throwing one starfish back
into the sea - why, because each small act makes a difference to
someone or some being. Shine your light .... take a step, a small step
or a big step to do something for someone else and it will grow."


Martha Coakley was just elected as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' first women Attorney General.  She won this seat in a landslide victory and got a huge round of roaring applause on Wedneday am.   Given that it's Friday, I thought it would be nice to include the starfish story in today's blog entry:

Starfish Story

told by Loren Eiseley

Eiseley tells the story of a writer who is vacationing
in a hotel on the coast and decides to take a break from
his work by strolling along the sandy beach. In the distance,
he spies a person whom he believes, at the time, is dancing,
and is so intrigued he investigates further.

he approaches the “dancer,” he
realizes it is a young man and he is not dancing, but throwing
objects from the beach into the ocean. He gets closer still
and discovers that the man is picking up starfish from
the beach, where thousands have been stranded by low tide,
and is throwing them back, one by one, into the ocean.

The writer asks the man why he is undertaking such a task
and the man replies that if he does not, the starfish will
certainly die.

this, the writer scoffs and informs the man that there
are miles and miles of beach and tens of thousands of starfish
and he can’t possibly believe
that what he is doing will make a difference.

The young man pauses and gives thought to this observation.
Then, picking up another starfish from the beach, he tells
the writer as he throws it back into the ocean...

makes a difference to this one.”


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Comments ( 1 )
  • Carolyn A. Colborn Saturday, December 9, 2006
    I love Maya Angelou! I saw her speak in Brockport, N.Y. in May 2000 and it is one of those life experiences you do not forget.
    I don't know the origin of the starfish story, but it has been hanging on my refrigerator for years, and I have shared it. It is a good story to share.
    Maya is my "sister". Thanks for sharing.
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