This prologue presents the story of Clare Washington, a fifty-year-old engineering manager for an innovative computer company. Born after World War II, she trained to be an English teacher, largely so she could relocate to the West Coast. After attending a college nestled in the countercultural communities of Oregon, she became a practitioner of shiatsu, a Japanese technique of body work to balance bodily functions. Her hospice work in Oregon paved the way for Clare to move to the San Francisco Bay Area. A lesbian activist, she worked with patients with HIV until too many of her own friends were dying. Her introduction to the high-tech world began in customer service. She took management courses on work styles; she went to Toastmasters to hone her communication skills; she earned an M.A. in human resources and organizational development.
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