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STORIES

Ikigai can be described as an intersection between 4 different elements: what you’re passionate about, where your skills lie, how you can earn a living and what the world needs.
— Hector Garcia Puigcerver & Francesc Miralles, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
 

What do potters, HR leaders, R&D scientists, and restaurant operators have in common? We all spend nearly half our lives at work. Many of us feel called to our work whether by the technical aspects of the job or impact it has on our communities. Humans@Work showcases people who have found just that - a calling in their work, their Ikigai. 

Check out the short trailer above and scroll down to learn more about the inspiring stories.

 
 
 
 

Peter Deneen

maker

 
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I don’t think we ever really thought about things as work. It was life and it was what you were doing that day. Mary always accuses me of not knowing the difference between work and play cause it’s all play to me.
 
 

PETER deneen - founder of deneen pottery

Peter and Mary are the founders of Deneen Pottery, a company that hand throws ceramic mugs that sit in homes, restaurants and Original Pancake Houses around the country. The two met when they were in art school and admired each other’s work. They both still practice their art at their home studio, and are happy to leave the family business in the hands of their son, Niles.

 
 

dawn muyres

solver

 
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I love what I do and I really really want others, especially girls and women, to love what they do.

dawn muyres - Front End Innovation Officer and Engineer at 3M 

She’s super curious about all the people and the things that make up the world around her. She’s always had a hunger for learning and would read encyclopedias as a kid, just to learn something new. She’s instilled the same curiosity and drive in her three adorable little girls who want to be veterinarians, astronauts who study animals and, and champion swimmers.

 
 

yer winder

connector

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My line of work in diversity and inclusion is not work to me. It’s what I live and I breathe and I practice every day. And to me that’s not a job. It’s my purpose in life.

yer winder - diversity & inclusion recruiter for the state of minnesota

Yer works as a Diversity and Inclusion recruiter for the state of Minnesota. Like many other Hmong men who ended up in the US, her father was recruited to fight for the American army during the Vietnam War, and came here seeking safety once it was over. Yer sees her position as one following in her father's footsteps and giving back to her community by paving the way for other Hmong people and people of color to gain a foothold in leadership positions within state government. Her family and her sisters are her main inspirations and motivations.

 
 

omar solis

sustainer

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This is not about me now. This is about bringing something back to the community. Now we’re here, the ball’s in my court, and I have a whole neighborhood behind me.

omar solis - owner & operator of ajo & nana

Omar was born and raised in Bridgeport on the South Side of Chicago, a neighborhood he refers to as the underdog. He’s passionate about bringing sustainable and organic food options to his home. He first started Nana, a restaurant inspired by his mom, recently opened Ajo, inspired by his wife, and will soon be opening a taco joint inspired by his father. His storefronts have all been built next to each other in the very building where he grew up. His philosophy is that he may not be able to change the world, but he can certainly transform one street corner.