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Barbara N. Ekey

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*See also Barbara Norton

ISU Grad Barbara C. Norton (Ekey) Helps Us Surmount Life's Challenges.

Whether climbing a mountain, writing a book, teaching a class -- or just climbing out of bed in the morning -- each of us faces obstacles in our lives and wonderful opportunities. What author/motivational educator Barbara Norton Ekey, an Iowa State University graduate, knows from personal experience, research, and keen observation of others is that overcoming those internal and external obstacles requires believing in oneself, freeing the imagination, and controlling stress; in short, she says it means taking charge.

The author's programs, "Surmounting Life's Challenges" and "Creative Learning Adventures", have been presented to teachers, parents, and students at universities, schools, book stores, and conventions since 1995. Ekey has also appeared on PBS television and national radio.

How Ekey helps inspire change is by using an interdisciplinary approach to learning, mixed with ideas gleaned through undergraduate degree in elementary education/Spanish at Iowa State University, a masters in educational psychology from University of Minnesota, plus 9 years of teaching experience in Denver, Penn State University, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, New York City area, and Germany. By blending these skills with her 10 years of work as a photojournalist and 20 years of involvement with the League of Women Voters, Ekey motivates with special insight and feeling.

"I've been very fortunate to have had highly capable mentors along the way" says Ekey. "Iowa State University professors enhanced my creativity by giving me the freedom to explore new ideas and teaching techniques."

Through her nonfiction adult book "Blind Trust", the incredible story of a sightless climb of Mt. McKinley, she shares her understandable philosophy of living life to your own culminating peak.  "Blind Trust" relates how faith and unconquerable determination can guide us to conquer life's challenges, even up the treacherous slopes of McKinley's summit. But there is much more to this incredible story. While writing the book, Ekey felt an ever-increasing need to encourage others to use insight, creative problem solving, and humor to confront the figurative mountains that stand in their own paths. She knows firsthand how difficult even seemingly simple tasks can be if not approached with the right mindset and also how to turn minor setbacks into major opportunities. One aspect of her life where experimentation served her particularly well was in learning to control stress. She enthusiastically shares her "methods" for coping with her high-flying, full-speed ahead approach to life.

"When writing "Blind Trust", one of the main characters and my chief booster was killed in the calving of a glacier. I just couldn't write until I started using my 'Ten Stress Commandments.' Through mental imaging, music, and art, initiative assessment of personal relationships, positive thinking, and specialty rewards, I was able to complete the book and then forge ahead on other inspirations."

Both "Blind Trust" and her motivational children's books such as Catsup & Keys To Success are available through Iowa State University Bookstore.


Birthplace: Edina, Minnesota


Present Position: Corp President/CEO/Chair Comfort Care Technologies, Inc., Corp President/CEO/Chair Creative Learning Adventures Inc., Author, Educator, Motivational Speaker, Inventor

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Honored by: A.D. Clarke Publishers

Brick Location

Section: E Row: 19