Ayame van Beusekom competed in gymnastics at the international Olympic level before retiring from the sport at age 18.  Here she talks about what inspired her to keep going until injuries ended her athletic career, and the next step in building her future through education and setting life goals.  Live the adventure.

Marlana:  Here we are at North Head, and we are interviewing Ayame. So, where are you originally from?

Ayame: I am from New Zealand, but my parents are from Japan and Holand.

Sienna:  What do you think is cool about living in New Zealand?

Ayame: New Zealand is just like petty and chilled.

Marlana:  How did you start off in gymnastics?

Ayame:  We went to Japan for a holiday, and there were some bars, little metal bars, and I was doing cyclops with my cousins.  They couldn't do it.  But I was the only one that could do it.  And my mom was like, "Oh, when we get back lets put you in a gymnastics class."  Yeah, I just really enjoyed it, and then we had a general gym competition, so I was with all these other little five-year-olds, and we all didn't know what we were doing just having a good time, and I won my first gold medal.

Sienna:  How long have you been doing gymnastics?

Ayame:  For twelve years now. 

Sienna: What do you do when you get nervous about performing?

Ayame:  Tell yourself that you can do it, like, you have to have positive talk to yourself, especially before you compete.

Sienna:  What's your most memorable performance?

Ayame:  I really like Australia Nationals.  On the first day of competition, I did a double pike.  You Tumble across the diagonal, and you go twice in the air in a pike position, and I fully opened out and face planted on the floor, and it was, really embarrassing, and sad.  The next day all I wanted to do was land the skill.  Like I could land it in training, but the pressure sometimes gets to you.  Then the second day I landed it, and that was probably one of the best moments ever because I could finally like, redeem myself from that moment.  The videos were pretty good though, just that replay of me falling on my face.

Marlana:  So what was the real highlight moment for you?

Ayame:  One of my favorite moments is a release move called a Yeager.  It's like one of these big moves that I never thought I would be able to do and I only saw it like on TV and Olympians do it, and I was like, "I'll never be able to do that."  But I tried it, and within the first few days I was like almost close to missing it and close to catching it, and I was like, this far away from the bar and that moment where I finally went around the bar on the bar and I caught it and it was just like, awesome.

Sienna:  So if you could go back in time what would you say to your younger self?

Ayame: Oh, that's pretty tricky.

Sienna:  I got a few.

Ayame:  Yeah.  Just to like not be scared of stuff.  Compared to all the other girls at gym I think I'm a sort of a scaredy-cat.  Everyone else goes for skills, and they're not scared of stuff, but I'm more cautious like, what if I get hurt what if it goes wrong like "I don't want to do it!"  The thing is you just have to go for it, and you have to one hundred percent go for it, or you are going to hurt yourself.  And I want to tell my younger self that it's okay to be scared, but you should still go for things anyway.  You might have a really good outcome and don't believe you can't do something because you've seen it on TV, and you think you can't do it when you're younger but really if you try it you never know how it's going to turn out, and you might be good at it.  Always give it a go.   

Marlana:  So what is your greatest source of support?  

Ayame:  Definitely my family because they have to pay for it and they have to always put up with me and like being grumpy and tired from gymnastics, they have to feed me and come to pick me up.  Especially the transport.  They've had to give up a lot for it.  And then, my first set of teammates that I had from when I was little.  

Marlana:  What advice would you actually give?

Ayame:  Give it a go, it's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.  So if you keep going, keep pushing at it, even when you think you're not very good and you're not going to get anywhere if you keep working hard the results will come.  I never thought I would get to international or keep competing with other internationals at an Olympic level, but I made it as well so, they can do it if I can do it.

Marlana:  So what are you going to do with your future?  Like job?

Sienna:  The question all teenagers hate.

Ayame:  So gymnastics you can only do for a certain amount of time before you retire.  And I've got other dreams that are not gymnastics related as well.  So I am hoping to open up my own cafe or business promoting healthy eating and exercise, all that in this one big complex.  I've already started my own baking business, so before I was into healthy eating and stuff, I was into baking.  I started with an Instagram page, posted pictures of baking, and then, people started ordering and stuff.  Then I turned it into a website, so people can order off there.  I hope to expand on that and help with my business skills, so in the future that can be a starting point.  I'm going to AUT, studying International hospitality management.  

Sienna:  So what is something that keeps you strong when something is difficult?

Ayame:  Your time will come, and things will get better, so just knowing that keeps me going. You can do it.  It will pass.  I just always believed hard work is the key to everything.  It's the key to success and happiness.

Sienna:  Do you have any mottos or quotes that keep you going, special to you?

Ayame:  Yeah, I love quotes.  I have two favorite ones.  The first one is "Make it happen, "  and "You're never going to change the world trying to be like it."  So those are my two.

Marlana:  Yeah.

Ayame:  Thank you, guys.  You're capable of doing anything.

Follow Ayame at:
Gymnastics commentary: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt8OU68KNONveDSTfomfCkw

Instagram baking:  https://www.instagram.com/ayamesbaking/

Baking Website:  https://ayamesbaking.weebly.com/products.html

More of Mahlon's Photography

Burt Bacharach's book is far from 'C Major'-Vanilla!

Burt Bacharach's book,' Anyone who had a heart' really got me, when he said of the pop music of the sixties; 'A lot of those songs consisted of just three chords, C to F to G. If they had thrown in a C major seventh that would have been a lot more interesting, but the plain C major chord just seemed so vanilla to me'.

Perhaps I've been a fan of Burt's all these years without being able to admit it! His music is a 1000 miles from Mick Fleetwood's cowbell thumping 'Gold dust woman', the rip and raw of Neil Young's 'Rust never Sleeps'.... part of my teen age 'sound track'.... but in all my attempts at writing a good 'Beetles tune'... I never had a C major in it...ever! C maj 7th/D perhaps.... Burt has a great quote from Darius Mihaud, his Carpinteria composition teacher; "Never be ashamed to write a melody you can whistle".

The Book started to get me before page 43! .. 'once I saw a piece performed that Lou Harrison had written for Martha Graham. It was sixteen minutes long and thirteen minutes were complete silence'! Additionally, Chapter 3 'I Married an Angel'; 'The attraction between us was physical, because she was really good-looking and had great breasts, which back then could not be prefabricated'!

I've only just started the book, but am sure I'm up for plenty more Bacharach 'raindrop' stories! The writing is a little; and then I went, and then I did, and then I met... however I'm going to stick with it; wishing I was on a Auckland to San Fran flight, getting stuck into it .... there's nothing like laughing out loud on a plane... people looking at you with a, shocked-quizzical-missing-out sort of look!

Matt Damon, David O. Russell and Jeff Skoll to Receive Career Tributes

Matt Damon; Director, David O. Russell along with Philanthropist and Social Entrepreneur Jeff Skoll will be presented with career tributes at the 22nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards™ on Monday, November 26th at Cipriani Wall Street, in New York City. Signaling the official kick-off for the film awards season, the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ is one of the leading awards for independent film. Along with these three tributes, seven competitive awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You and Audience Award will be announced.

This year’s Tribute selection is a group of individuals involved in incredibly relevant work who have made an indelible cultural impact on the industry– all film veterans with indie roots who celebrate and support independent visions. These honorees represent some of the most highly anticipated films of 2012 including: Promised Land from Focus Features (featuring Matt Damon and directed by Gus Van Sant, produced by Participant Media); and the upcoming Weinstein Co. release Silver Linings Playbook (directed by David O. Russell and featuring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence).

“It is with pride and great pleasure that we give tribute to these three luminaries, each of whom plays an amazing role in expanding the language of film, breaking boundaries along the way,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of the IFP. “Each has a unique voice and clearly defined vision of cinema for the current generation, bringing perspective and relevance to the film world today.”

Matt Damon has been honored for his work on both sides of the camera, most recently earning Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for his portrayal of South African rugby hero Francois Pienaar in Clint Eastwood’s true-life drama Invictus. He was also recently a double Golden Globe Award nominee, for that performance and for his starring role in Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! Earlier in his career, Mr. Damon won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, for his breakthrough feature Good Will Hunting, which he wrote and starred in with his lifelong friend Ben Affleck and which was directed by Gus Van Sant. The movie also brought him a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay as well as Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Actor. He has since reteamed with Mr. Van Sant, acting in Finding Forrester; starring opposite Casey Affleck in Gerry, which the trio wrote together; and now making Promised Land, which Mr. Damon wrote with John Krasinski and which will be released in December.

Mr. Damon has also repeatedly teamed with Mr. Soderbergh. He was part of the ensembles in the Ocean’s trilogy and in Contagion; and recently completed his starring role as Scott Thorson opposite Michael Douglas as Liberace in the telefilm Behind the Candelabra. He played the title roles in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, for which he was a Golden Globe Award nominee, and in Saving Private Ryan, which won five Academy Awards including Best Director (Steven Spielberg); and starred in The Departed, which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director (Martin Scorsese). With his fellow actors from the latter two movies, Mr. Damon shared Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Hailing from Boston, Mr. Damon attended Harvard University and gained his first acting experience with the American Repertory Theatre. He is partnered with Ben Affleck in the production company Pearl Street Films, developing projects for multiple mediums including film. He is a co-founder of H20 Africa, now known as www.water.org.

David O. Russell directed THE FIGHTER (2010), a film that earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Achievement in Directing (Russell) and Best Motion Picture of the Year. Two of THE FIGHTER’s stars Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won Academy Awards for their performances. Russell’s prior films include THREE KINGS (1999), starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube, which earned Russell a nomination from the Writers Guild of America for Best Screenplay, in addition to appearing on over 100 critics’ top ten lists and being awarded the Boston Film Critics Society Film of the Year and Director of the Year. Russell’s comedies I HEART HUCKABEES (2004) and FLIRTING WITH DISASTER (1996) appeared on many top ten lists. The first film Russell wrote and directed, SPANKING THE MONKEY, won the 1994 Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award and won Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay at the 1994 Independent Spirit Awards. In 2002, Russell joined the board of the Bronx’s Ghetto Film School, then abrand-new, all-volunteer local summer project with a very small budget and no presence within the film industry. Today, GFS is New York’s first public high school for cinema, an award-winning program model that has helped over 500 teenagers tell their stories.

Jeff Skoll is a philanthropist and social entrepreneur. As founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation, Participant Media and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, he is bringing life to his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Jeff founded Participant Media in 2004 with the belief that a story well told has the power to inspire and compel social change. Participant’s films are accompanied by social action and advocacy campaigns to engage people on the issues addressed in the films. Jeff has served as Executive Producer on over 33 films to date, which have collectively received a total of 5 Academy Awards® and 22 nominations. Participant’s films include, among others, Good Night, and Good Luck, North Country, Syriana, An Inconvenient Truth, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Visitor, The Cove, Countdown to Zero, Waiting for “Superman”, Food, Inc., The Help, Contagion, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lincoln and Promised Land. In 2009, Participant launched its digital hub TakePart.com, an on-line Social Action Network™ that engages people in the major issues which shape their lives. TakePart launched a digital magazine on MSN and a YouTube network in 2012.

The Premier Sponsors of the 22nd annual Gotham Independent Film Awards™ are Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and The New York Times, Presenting Sponsor euphoria Calvin Klein, Preferred Sponsors Directors Guild of America and PMC, Official Spirit Russian Standard Vodka, Official Wine Partner Mionetto Prosecco, Official Partners: charitybuzz; MoMA; Andaz Wall Street. Additionally, the awards will be promoted nationally in an eight-page special advertising section in The New York Times on November 16th, 2012.


Susie Spanos, Tanya Snyder, And NFL Support "A Crucial Catch"

The National Football League and NFL Players Association will support October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their fourth-annual national breast cancer screening initiative and fundraising campaign. In collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the initiative, called "A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives," reminds women 40 and older about the importance of having an annual mammogram. Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, Susie Spanos, wife of Chargers president Dean Spanos, and players including Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and running back DeAngelo Williams have all embraced A Crucial Catch-each has been touched by breast cancer. In addition, Saints quarterback Drew Brees recently filmed a breast cancer awareness PSA with the American Cancer Society to show his support for A Crucial Catch.

To date, the partnership has raised more than $3 million for the American Cancer Society, with the majority of the donation coming from the sale of pink items at retail and on NFL Auction. Beginning this year, money raised through A Crucial Catch will support the American Cancer Society's Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE) program. This program provides outreach and breast cancer screenings to women who need them. The NFL markets being supported in the first year of the program are Atlanta, Baltimore, New England, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

In 2011 alone, the NFL's A Crucial Catch campaign reached more than 151 million viewers, including 58 million women age 18 and older. The campaign's message is making a real impact-64% of NFL female fans and 61% of all NFL fans identify the importance of annual screenings, especially for women over 40, as the key message of the A Crucial Catch campaign.

Jeff Skoll Named in Top 50 NonProfit Times List

The NonProfit Times has released its fifteenth annual Power and Influence Top 50 list, and Jeff Skoll is among them. They wrote: “Skoll fuels the international juggernaut of social entrepreneurism. He is correct when saying that innovation and change come from curiosity and his world forums feed that prying loose of ideas. He is pushing for what he calls Humanity 2.0, a sustainable world of peace and prosperity and he’s using every media toll possible to get there.”

This was Jeff Skoll’s first time on the NonProfit Times list. Other first-time honorees on this year’s list include Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation; Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United; Diana Campoamor, president of Hispanics in Philanthropy; Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA; Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits; James Firman, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging; Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts; Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation; Ben Rattray, founder and CEO of Change.org; Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; Judy Vredenburgh, president and CEO of Girls Inc.; Ann Silverberg Williamson, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations; and Samuel Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction. - September 26th 2012

See the complete list at http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/article/detail/the-npt-power-and-influence-top-50-2012-4775

Koch Industries, Inc., and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation Diversity Scholarship Support

Koch Industries, Inc., and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation have announced a commitment totaling $814,000 to the Kansas State University Office of Diversity. The commitment includes a combined gift of $514,000 to increase enrollment of multicultural students in K-State’s College of Business Administration and College of Engineering and help them succeed in college and beyond. In addition, the company made a $300,000 commitment for future diversity scholarship support.

Koch Industries’ funding will continue its support of K-State’s College of Business Administration’s efforts to promote recruitment, retention, graduation and placement of greater numbers of historically under-represented students. In addition, the company’s commitment will also extend scholarship funding to students in the College of Engineering.

“Koch Industries and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation’s support is essential to the success of so many students,” said Myra Gordon, K-State associate provost for diversity. “Not all students have the awareness, support and financial means to make college a reality. This is particularly true among many multicultural groups. However, with special partnerships like this one, we have created a sustained effort — called Project IMPACT— that nurtures the talents of multicultural students that will be needed to invigorate the domestic and global workplace.”

Drew Barrymore & Will Kopelman Plus Olive

Congrats to Drew Barrymore & Will Kopelman on the birth of their baby girl, Olive. We love Drew's work in this family with Never Been Kissed and Ever After on our daughters love to watch list. We can't wait to see what direction her creative energy will take as she finds herself inspired by motherhood!

Eamon Cleary Will Be Greatly Missed

Father of eight, Eamon Cleary has died at his horse stud in Kentucky. The oldest of a large Irish family, Mr Cleary left school at 11 to work on his father's farm, later marrying at 24.  The last public accounting of his financial accomplishments listed his wealth at $1.2 billion, with a range of assets across four continents.

Eamon Cleary moved to New Zealand in about 1994, using the proceeds to invest in farming, building a fortune converting sheep farms to dairy farms.  While he indulged his love for breeding racehorses, he did not live an extravagant lifestyle.  For a time he owned the 22,000 hectare Coronet Peak Station, although last year he sold it to Robert 'Mutt' Lange.

This wonderful man, fabulous father, and generous lover of New Zealand, it's land, and it's racehorses, will be much missed.

The Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy

Forbes I'm looking forward to reading the Current Issue of Forbes Magazine.  The Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, was the greatest-ever meeting of its kind. Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Peter Peterson, Leon Black, Jon Bon Jovi, Marc Benioff, David Rubenstein, Steve Case, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, and Marc Andreessen will grace the cover of Forbes October 8th 30th Anniversary Issue.

Read more about it http://www.forbes.com/sites/randalllane/2012/09/18/the-forbes-400-summit-bill-gates-warren-buffett-and-the-greatest-roundtable-of-all-time/

David and Simon Reuben Support Film Library

The Reuben Foundation have provided the principal funding to construct the BFI Reuben Library on Southbank, London The library provides one of the biggest collections of printed materials relating to film and television in the world.

The BFI Reuben Library's priority is comprehensive coverage of the moving image in Britain from pre-cinema to the present, but the scope of the collection is international with material held in more than 15 languages.

Researchers, students and moving image enthusiasts of all ages will be able to use the BFI Reuben Library's collections and resources daily. The BFI Reuben Library will also lead to the creation of a BFI Academy for young people wanting to enter the film industry.

"The BFI looks after the world's greatest collections of film and television material and we opened this new library at BFI Southbank to inspire more people about the future of film," said BFI chair Greg Dyke.

"It is a vital hub and resource for everybody from filmmakers, academic researchers, students and the industry itself, or anyone with an interest in film and we are indebted to The Reuben Foundation along with our other benefactors for their incredible support."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "This is a tremendous initiative, providing an exciting resource for Londoners that will also be a huge attraction to film fans, students and curious tourists from far and wide.

"I thank The Reuben Foundation for its support with this fantastic example of philanthropy in culture. London has provided an iconic backdrop for so many famous films, be it Harry Potter or James Bond and it's only right that we have such a fitting tribute to our great film heritage."

Designed by award-winning Coffey Architects, the BFI Reuben Library cleverly combines hanging metal mesh, timber bookcases and subtle new lighting to create a rich, vibrant yet welcoming and calm space, which serves all manner of visitors.

The Reubens said “we are delighted to support the BFI in creating the new BFI Reuben Library, which we hope will benefit film students, researchers and moving image enthusiasts of all ages for many years to come”.

San Diego Chargers, Dean Spanos, & Payless ShoeSource

Today the San Diego Chargers, Dean Spanos, and Payless ShoeSource provided funds for 1,000 pairs of shoes for San Diego children in need. Chargers Antwan Barnes, Melvin Ingram, Jarret Johnson, Ryan Matthews, Kendall Rayes, Charlie Whithurst, and Demmorio Williams took their day off to visit four local San Diego Payless Shoe stores and help kids pick out and try on new shoes for school.

Congratulations to Robbie Williams & Ayda Field

British singer Robbie Williams is celebrating after becoming a first-time father. Robbie's wife Ayda Field gave birth to a baby girl, Theodora Rose, on Tuesday.

The proud father took to his official blog to announce his happy news, writing, “Praise be, it’s Theodora Rose Williams, affectionately known as Teddy… Born 3.33pm on 18.9.12, 7lbs 4oz… Baby, mummy and daddy are all rockin… Thank you for your best wishes.”

Phil Knight and his wife Penny make gift to OHSU

Phil Knight and his wife Penny have provided a transformational gift of $125 million to the Oregon Health & Science University to advance OHSU’s world-class programs in cardiovascular medicine and research. The gift is the largest in OHSU history and may likely be the largest private contribution ever made by living donors to benefit a single Oregon organization. This is the Knights’ second landmark gift to OHSU, following a 2008 pledge of $100 million that advanced the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A. commented that “Phil and Penny Knight have made a gift to all Oregonians.”

Phil Knight followed that up by saying “Penny and I are pleased to help upgrade cardiovascular health in Oregon and around the world. Drs. Starr and Kaul have built a great program in research, care and outreach, and we are excited about what it can contribute to the fight against these deadly diseases.”

With the Knights’ support, the leadership duo of Starr and Kaul a heart surgeon and a cardiologist will be able to move forward on a vision to build a comprehensive assault on cardiovascular disease that spans the entire health care spectrum.

Kudos to the Knights for their generosity.

Sir George Fistonich's Villa Maria named New Zealand Winery of the Year

Villa Maria Estate has been named New Zealand Winery of the Year by WINE Magazine in China. Six well respected wine personalities formed the judging panel for these awards including Debra Meiburg MW, Dennis Lin (wine writer), Ji Yang (wine writer & educator), Ronny Lau (wine judge), Bai Chang (wine judge) and Qi Shaoren (wine educator).

WINE Magazine established these awards to help consumers identify category leaders. New Zealand’s most awarded winery received the top award in the New Zealand category given their market share and influence in the Chinese wine market.

WINE Magazine is the first wine focused consumer publication in China with the aim to be the most authoritative professional magazine in this emerging market.

Villa Maria has exported to China since the inception of Summergate Fine Wines and Spirits in 2000 and was the first brand they carried. The 100% New Zealand owned company is placing a high degree of focus into the Chinese market, as it is their most rapidly growing export market. In 2010, Villa Maria appointed their first dedicated Asia Market Manager, Charlotte Read, and in 2011 they appointed their first China based employee reflecting their commitment to growing the presence of New Zealand wine and Villa Maria in this fast growing market.