[box] We are very proud to feature this special interview with singer, songwriter and American Idol contestant, Ayla Brown. Ayla is the daughter of popular Boston’s WCVB-ABC Newscaster Gail Huff and U.S. Senator Scott Brown.

I first reached out to Ayla about being interviewed for OMSF when she was performing with our co-founder Patti Austin and the Boston Pops. A young singer that had just been introduced to Over My Shoulder Foundation ( 7 year old) Carly Connor was on her way to meet Patti and I thought, how cool it would be to have this young singer interview them.

It didn’t happen exactly as I planned…which ended up being fabulous. Carly interviewed Ayla weeks later at the South Shore Music Circus in Massachusetts where Ayla was performing with Josh Turner. Carly had not only rehearsed her questions (look out Diane Sawyer!) but she also carried out her interview with perfection and has us laughing hysterically with her question about Simon Powell. The two of them ended up singing “Beat by a Girl” for 2,000 adoring fans and then signing autographs all night long. It was a glorious mentoring moment that none of us will soon forget.

-Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Foundation Co-Founder and Executive Director[/box]


Josh and Carly Ann Connor caught up with Ayla Brown in Cohasset, MA in her dressing room at the South Shore Music Circus prior to her performance with Josh Turner on July 15th, 2012. Carly interviewed Ayla while Josh worked behind the camera and production of the interview. After the interview, Ayla invited Carly to join her onstage that night for her finale of her new hit “Beat by a Girl”. It was a Magical Mentoring Moment.




















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OMSF Post Liberty Event Media


Thank you! 

Thank you to everyone who attended our first annual “Designing the Next Generation” event on June 18th at The Liberty Hotel.

With more than 300 of you in attendance, it was a spectacular evening of inspirational stories and song.

Our thanks go out to our speakers, including Patti Austin, Attorney Rick DyerGovernor Michael Dukakis, Ted Fujimoto (Founder of The Right to Succeed Foundation), Stephen Powell ( Executive Director of Mentoring USA), and Mayor of NewtonSetti D. Warren, for all getting to the core about how mentoring and helping others is imperative for our communities and our future.

A huge thank you to all our amazing musical performers, including Patti AustinCharlie FarrenRobin Lane, Hal Lebeaux Boudreau, and Julie Silver. The music you made was a perfect way to make the point about the power of each of us helping another.

We will be posting photos and videos on Facebook in the coming days, so check in soon at and to take a look (or see what you missed!).

We hope the evening was inspirational to you, too!  CUMAR Marble & Granite and the Over My Shoulder Foundation‘s goal is to inspire more of us to mentor and support mentoring, so we hope that everyone will take some action to advance the cause of mentoring in Greater Boston and beyond.

Here are a few simple ways you can take action today:

1) Become a mentor:

Many mentoring relationships only require one hour per week, but think of how much good you can do for another person’s life with so little time:

Mass Mentors

2) Donate to one of these terrific local organizations working in mentoring and other vital social causes in our communities:

The Home for Little Wanderers

Improbable Players

Mass Mentors

Mentoring USA

3) Nominate someone for a MIDDIE! 

The MIDDIES (Mentors in Design Awards) salute design professionals in interior design, architecture, building, landscape design, and related fields, who share their time, expertise, and wisdom with the next generation.

A nominee might be someone who has mentored you or who you have observed mentoring others during his or her career. The candidate might be your boss, a close colleague, or someone from another discipline who has opened the door to new possibilities.

Nominating someone takes just a few minutes, but is a wonderful way to reward them for their mentoring!

Nominate at Design New England today 

4) Donate to the Over My Shoulder Foundation, so we can use your funding to create more editorial, video, and audio to help inspire even more people to mentor!

5) Let us know what action we helped inspire you to take…we want to know if our actions are working, too! 

We look forward to seeing you at our next event in January 2013!


* Dawn Carroll, Design Specialist, CUMAR Marble & Granite and Executive Director, Over My Shoulder Foundation

* Dave Connor, General Manager, CUMAR Marble & Granite

* Carlotta Cubi, Executive Vice President, CUMAR Marble & Granite

Brochure: OMSF & CUMAR_PGRM – 6-18-12 Liberty Hotel

Wednesday night’s Design New England Fourth Anniversary celebration was a landmark event for the Over My Shoulder Foundation. As an organization focused on promoting the power of mentoring, Over My Shoulder ‘s influence inspired the creation of Design New England’s Mentors in Design Awards (MIDDIES) which were officially announced at the gala.

On hand for the spectacular celebration was Over My Shoulder co-founder Patti Austin. Patti was presented with an honorary award created by Cumar Inc., praising her achievements in her music mentoring initiatives as well as her involvement with the creation of the MIDDIES. Also performing at the event with mentee Lianna Gutierrez, Patti and Lianna’s rendition of the Over My Shoulder theme song wowed the crowd and was the highlight of the evening.

The event represents a wonderful turning point in the story of the foundation. It provided a coming together of organizations who are committed to and believe in the power of mentoring. Over My Shoulder has its eyes on the future and hopes to promote mentoring through upcoming events.  The Over My Shoulder Project is a national mentoring initiative that uses music to raise awareness about the impact of mentoring both cross-culturally and cross-generationally.

The Over My Shoulder Foundation, a cross-cultural and cross-generational mentoring organization, founded by CEO Dawn Carroll and Grammy Winner Patti Austin, honor the dedication and commitment of the students of John H. Reagan HS in Houston, Texas.

PRLog (Press Release) – Apr 07, 2011 – The Over My Shoulder Foundation, a cross-cultural and cross-generational mentoring organization, founded by CEO Dawn Carroll and Grammy Winner Patti Austin, honor the dedication and commitment of the students of John H. Reagan High School in Houston, Texas. Tasked by teacher David Messina with creating a logo for the OMSF “Menotorology” project , the students rose to the occasion and within days delivered 50 well thought out and professionally created logo designs for Mentorology: the art and science of mentoring

The students of this high school come from very poor situations. A simple homework assignment, guided by a visionary concept conceived by Mr. Messina, turned into a motivational challenge that inspired hope and the possibilities of a bright future. This project embodied every aspect of the mentoring credo of the Over My Shoulder Foundation. “I credit the work of these students for re-energizing my perspective and passion for teaching,” said David Messina, teacher at John H. Reagan High School. “These kids have taught me that, when properly engaged, every person can elevate themselves above the hopelessness that all too often engulfs us.”

Sadly, the Houston community will be losing the popular teacher at the end of the school year. The Over My Shoulder Foundation is asking the Houston Community to embrace and celebrate the Mentorology project in a festive and congratulatory way. “David’s caliber and commitment are directly responsible for rousing these students to reach for the stars,” said Dawn Carroll, CEO of the Over My Shoulder Foundation. “It’s a shame that the school will be losing him next year. In association with the Houston community, I’m hoping that we can come up with a fitting way to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of Dave and his students.”

The student logo designs can be found below this press release-

About the Over My Shoulder Foundation (

The Over My Shoulder Foundation is a national mentoring organization that uses music and the media to raise awareness about the impact of mentoring both cross-culturally and cross generationally. The foundation’s goal is to break down barriers that separate generations of people and culture to bolster confidence and wipe out hopelessness.


CONTACT: Dawn Carroll

Phone: ( 617) 510-2620  / Email:



Over My Shoulder Foundation Spreads “Mentorology” with Music and Needs Your Help

11/22/2011: BOSTON, MA – January is National Mentoring Month, and January 25 is recognized as “Thank Your Mentor Day.” The power of mentoring positively transforms individuals, families and communities. The Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF) believes, as Jimi Hendrix best said, “If there is something to be changed in this world…then it can only be done through music.” While some musicians are already on board, including former Four Non Blondes singer Linda Perry and Grammy Award winning singing legend Patti Austin, OMSF is gearing up for another big year starting January 2012. And OMSF wants your help.

The Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF), a national mentoring initiative that uses music to raise awareness of the impact of mentoring, or, “Mentorology,” champions the mission “One Less Hopeless Person.” Led by tireless co-founder Dawn Carroll, a Boston-based award-winning stone designer, OMSF is reaching out to a powerful group of people for January’s National Mentoring Month. With music, OMSF plans to incite a dynamic mentoring message and provoke many collaborative efforts that demonstrate how creative minds can use art and music to cut across generations and learn from each other.

Would you believe that one song started it all? Dawn Carroll wrote the lyrics of Over My Shoulder with brilliant songwriters Charlie Farren and Brynn Arens in honor of a story she had heard 20 years ago when working publicity for Patti Austin. That story is Patti’s story: a girl born with enormous talent and the luck to find a legendary team of mentors (Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Dinah Washington to name a few) who helped nurture and navigate her toward greatness. Patti performed Over My Shoulder with her mentee Lianna Gutierrez last January at the WCVB TV Channel 5’s inspirational musical celebration to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The awe-inspiring performance by Patti and Lianna was broadcast live to 127 Countries and was re-broadcast for 8 weeks straight!

“Mentorology”, the art and science of mentoring, is a word that OMSF coined and wants on the lips of everyone this January. The magic that is shared between mentor and mentee is intoxicating. Dawn Carroll says, “There is always something new to learn and share when we stimulate the human spirit and challenge ourselves to reach outside of our perceived limitations to become something more.” Patti Austin says, “Quincy Jones mentored me, and hoards of others including Michael Jackson and Usher. Now Usher mentors Justin Beiber and Shows like the XFactor are proving that mentoring is in! “These relationships are real, and our stories of success with mentoring is one that I hope everyone can experience.” Explains Dawn Carroll

Please contact the Over My Shoulder Foundation to get involved. Today and every new day forward, the opportunity to change a life through Mentorology presents itself. Don’t wait. For more information about this news release, visit and contact Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Foundation co-founder by phone at (617) 510-2620  or email at

Contact: Laidlaw Group Public Relations
Laidlaw Group, LLC
Phone: 617.423.2801 x201


08/10/2010: BOSTON, MA — The Over My Shoulder Project, a national mentoring initiative that uses music to raise awareness of the impact of mentoring, or, “Mentorology,” was inspired by the unique relationship between GRAMMY Award winning singer Patti Austin and songwriter/designer Dawn Carroll who collaborated on the song Over My Shoulder. The song was written by Dawn Carroll, Charlie Farren, Brynn Arens and Barry Orms and premiered in June 2009 at the Power Girls Gala. As the Project grows, the song continues to influence the world of mentoring. A portion of the proceeds from Patti Austin’s new Shanachie Entertainment CD, “Sound Advice,” which will be released in September 2010, will be contributed to the Over My Shoulder Project. When Boston-based integrated marketing communications firm Laidlaw Group was added to the mix, the Over My Shoulder Project was on its way to becoming a nationally recognized advocate for the power of mentoring.

This week Patti Austin will be in Boston to promote the Over My Shoulder Project. She will be performing at the Scullers Jazz Club on August 13 and 14. Dreaming big, Patti envisions more songs like Over My Shoulder in her future as the power of mentoring helps her realize a longtime dream of becoming an interior designer. Patti says, “With everything I’m doing, my goal is to break down barriers that separate generations of people and cultures. Through mentoring, we are all increasingly interdependent on each other, rather than independent individuals. And, because of people’s interdependency, the Over My Shoulder Project hopes to foster respect, diversity, culture and individuality.”

To hear the song Over My Shoulder co-written by Dawn Carroll and sung by Patti Austin and Lianna Gutierrez, visit Patti Austin’s blog. To schedule an interview with Patti Austin, contact Tom Estey at 508-451-5246 or TJE6464[@] For more information about the Over My Shoulder Project or this news release, contact Laidlaw Group Public Relations at 617.423.2801 x201 or email pr[@]

Dream Big, Boston

Rick Dyer, Stephen Powell, Patti Austin, Governor Michael Dukakis, Gary Greenberg, Dawn Carroll, Ted Fujimoto, Dave Connor, and Calvin Cherry.

I am proud to have been part of the amazing event “Designing the Next Generation” at the Liberty Hotel by the Over My Shoulder Foundation. The people attending represented the city’s best and brightest professionals representing the design community to the top lawyers and civic leaders. The very personal story of Rick Dyer was shared. Most people would write off that a boy so lost and pretty much a permanent resident of jail. Rick’s story is an inspiration about the power of not only being given a chance but the power of mentorship in giving him something powerful and positive to fight for. He is a prominent lawyer advocating for kids so they too can have something positive to fight for. There are so many different ways the story could have turned out if he was not given a chance, if he did not receive a pardon from then Governor Dukakis.

Kids like this are lost and wander our streets and in our school halls. They are smart and with amazing potential that have either been taken over by bad influences or snuffed out with uninspiring and non-engaging school environments. They have gone too long without any adult showing care or concern whether they do well or not. It is no wonder that every school day, about 7,000 students decide to drop out of school – a total of 1.2 million students each year – and only about 70% of entering high school freshman graduate every year. Approximately 2,000 of America’s high schools produce half of the nation’s dropouts. Without a high school diploma, young people are less likely to succeed in the workforce. Each year, our nation loses $319 billion in potential earnings associated with the dropout crisis. (Whitehouse Press Release, March 10, 2010).

Too much energy is focused exclusively on fighting what we are against–bad budgets, bad bureaucracy, bad teachers, and bad unions to a point that we do not know what we are fighting for. It’s time to fight to a great school in every neighborhood that prepares our children for the best opportunities in the world. It is time to fight for a great school in every neighborhood that knows how to inspire—and knows how to value mentorship not as a side program but integrated into the core of school. Schools like this will cut the dropout rate in half almost overnight. This may all seem like wishful thinking but there are nationally replicating school models. Around the country, communities are catching on and transforming and starting dozens of schools in a short period of time.

Imagine Boston in five years if the twice the number of children are successfully graduating with options to attend the best universities and colleges. Imagine Boston in five years if it were to double or even quadruple the number of students graduating with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related degrees and entering the workforce. Boston would have to spend significantly less on social services and on the criminal justice system. Companies will have access to a larger qualified workforce to grow their business-making Boston an even more of an attractive place to locate and grow increasing revenues to the region.

We want schools that are truly modern and vibrant. Forget the boring lectures and teaching to test. Imagine where students are solving tough real world problems as part of their learning…where mentorship with industry professionals is not some add on program but integrated into their learning experience. At these schools, students will not only master the highest academic standards but also practice being leaders, using critical thinking skills to solve tough problems, develop a global perspective, and be master communicators…the skills needed to thrive in the best careers internationally.

This is achievable through the following specific actions:

1. Create or convert public schools into a cluster of 15 high performing STEM public middle and high schools using nationally replicating proven school models like New Tech Network, Big Picture Learning, Expeditionary Learning, International Baccalaureate schools. These models are capable of serving children with the toughest backgrounds and helping 90% or more graduating high school and getting them into college with double the rate entering STEM related degree programs and careers.

2. Provide these STEM cluster schools the autonomies and conditions on the ground that help these schools thrive and implement the models with high fidelity. Boston’s history of its Pilot Schools can be leveraged as a good start to provide this positive environment.

3. Create or leverage a strong community coalition to drive the creation of these schools, ensure the school models are delivering, create an education transformation fund, and to ensure that the District is providing an environment that supports and does not get in the way of implementing these models with fidelity.

Let’s dream big, Boston, and turn the dream into reality. Sometimes true transformation that creates the future and makes history requires bold action.

-Ted Fujimoto, Founder, Right to Succeed Foundation