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Bua Nua Nam

The year before starting the Center, I was on an assignment that landed me in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand, where the monks took to calling me Bua Nua Nam, translated as, "Lotus Below the Water's Surface." They explained that it meant that they saw me as serious about my calling, yet not fully bloomed.

Lotus painting given to Sherry by Burmese democratic leaders during her 2002 visit

I felt a deep sense of responsibility to achieve the promise that the monks saw in me. When I returned to the States, I launched the nonprofit Schiller Center as a platform to help organizational leaders manage change and create better futures. I knew that the realities of the 21st century would require very different perspectives and skills, and vowed to help organizational leaders with positive intentions take a proactive stance toward their changing landscape. I hoped that I could achieve my own potential by helping others achieve theirs.

Eighteen years later, another assignment took me to Yangon, Burma. Several of the democratic opposition leaders of the country gave me a carefully wrapped tube as a gift of appreciation. When I returned home and unwrapped it, I discovered a beautiful oil painting of a lotus blossom, fully bloomed.

Today, that painting hangs in our office, reminding us daily to strive to be our fullest selves in the service of others. It seems only fitting that the lotus at the center of the painting should serve as our logo. We hope that its meaning inspires others as it does us.