No Place I’d Rather Be

IMG_2707NO PLACE I’D RATHER BE….the rhythm and the lyrics carried me onto the Generation W stage, can it be two weeks ago (you can give it a listen here)? As we continue to get such wonderful feedback about life changing and life-enhancing experiences, there is no doubt that Generation W is an experience that has impact.

That impact comes in many forms.

It comes from sharing our stories, allowing others to learn from our challenges and celebrate with us in our achievements. In those moments of sharing, we build community…we build trust. We saw that happen during our Mission to Serve panel when a female Lieutenant, one of the first to serve on a submarine, stood up in the audience to ask advice for balancing motherhood and the military. When Admiral Jackson responded with such grace and insight, I thought, WOW, where do you get to experience this? She was followed up by Commander Master Chief Michael R. Jackson, who urged her and all of us to…

“Don’t ever apologize for being a mom.”

The reaction to this conversation was one of gratitude. People were thankful for having the opportunity to consider and learn about a world they don’t normally think about. This was about our front lines of freedom and these women made me so proud. Admiral Jackson and Admiral Evans will continue the conversation, joined by General Gonzalez-Kerr and Lieutenant Greece and Anne-Marie Knight plus many more April 26th at 6:00pm at the Florida Blue Conference Center – click here for more information. Don’t miss some good food and great conversation.

Impact comes from seizing opportunities. Sharry Cramond, the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Southeastern Grocers engaged all of us in how to take a fresh look at our lives. She was a powerhouse, reminding us that…

“Opportunities are seized, they’re rarely offered.”

We need to be able to take risks. Her 10 takeaways are in people’s notebooks and bulletin boards across the country.

Impact comes from embracing who we are and knowing that what makes us different also makes us stronger. As Audrey Moran pointed out in our Community Scorecard, there is strength in diversity and when women are at the table – in business, in the military, in law enforcement, in non-profits – positive change happens. Have you accepted Audrey’s challenge to look at what the diversity mix is in the influential organizations and businesses in your community?

I have many favorite moments from this year, but so do love when CNN reporter Kelly Wallace introduced coach Sheila Seymore-Pennick, of the National Champions Ribault High School girls basketball team. Kelly offered her a seat on the panel and she joined a luminary panel to discuss sportswomen and the media. She then delivered one of the most important messages about supporting young women:

“Whether young girls are athletes, musicians, artists, engineers – whomever they choose to be, we should encourage it, embrace it. When a girl feels validated in her life choices, she is confident and self-assured.”

Supporting each other…that is where the impact and power lies. I am grateful for all the men that joined us this year. And a special thanks to all who traveled from across the country: Minneapolis, California, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, New York City, Chicago and of course across the region: Riverside, Mandarin, Downtown and the Beaches. A special thanks to a spectacular Amy, who braved strong headwinds to be present!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW! MARCH 31, 2017…yes, there will be no place we would rather be!