Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love Letter to My Colleagues

“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving”
-Kahlil Gibran

This post is going to be simple and to the point. I’m grateful. Overwhelmingly grateful for the amazing people who have been showing up at my door, ringing the bell, and then making their way into my space, my life, my heart. And so…to wrap it all up (those in attendance at the summit will know the extreme amount of self-discipline I’m showing at this moment to not comment further on the words wrapped up like…) here goes this year’s GRATITUDE LIST FOR SUMMIT 2010 (These are in no particular order):

The 2010 Girls on the Run Summit gave and gives me an immense amount of gratitude for:

YOU -the Summit attendees! What is it about Girls on the Run that attracts such amazing and talented women? It is because of each of you that this organization thrives and serves more and more girls each year. The energy in Austin was palpable and we are all united, one with each other, whether in Charlotte, Los Angeles or New York.

The employees of Girls on the Run International: The event was well-organized and easy to navigate. I am grateful for the team at Headquarters and my guess is the connection they have for one another was felt by everyone in attendance.

Jenny Hadfield: WOW. I feel as if I’ve got a friend for life. Her willingness to share her story, her spirit and her guts with us touched everyone in that room. My guess is, based on conversations she and I have had since, she was touched as well. Check our her blog: referencing her experience at the summit.

Dr. Maureen Weiss: How could you NOT love this woman? Down-to-earth, authentic, REAL, Mo is one of the most intelligent academicians around. She is renowned in her field and her work in youth development programs is well-respected. We all were affirmed by her amazing words and her work at the Tucker Center. Her research validates and affirms that our work, at Girls on the Run is relevant, critically important AND changing lives.

Kristin Armstrong: What a peaceful, beautiful-souled woman. Her presence in our midst was inspiring. We felt so honored that she brought along her own daughters, her best friend Paige and Paige’s daughters…the whole thing was a surreal moment for me and an empowering one for all. Check out her blog, outlining much of what she shared with us.

Our sponsors: WOW. We are so fortunate to not only have relationships with these amazing companies but with the individuals associated with them as well. I’m convinced that what draws these corporations to Girls on the Run is the connection that individuals have to our organization. We touch each and everyone at a level deeper than a standard business relationship. Molly Reynolds from Secret; Chris Mann from New Balance; April Whitlock and Kathryn Thompson from Carolina Pad; Jackie McFee, Sarah Churchill and Gail Peterson from Jackie Studios; Patty Parrott and Kelly Colwin from Horizon; Allison Barrington from Gigunda; Jana Bartlett and Sonya McCabe from Goody.

Our amazing break-out speakers: The insight and expertise that each shared will take our organization to a new level and allow us to reach more girls each year. Thank you Susan Patterson, Teresa Purcell, Illene Roggensack, Robert Bales, Chris Weiss, Katy Brown, Lauren Byrne, Marjohn Elyaderani, Kelly O’Brien, Beth Gregory-Wallis and Karen Raseman for sharing your knowledge with us.

The small, off-to-the side conversations I had with so many of you. We laughed, we cried, we talked about children, our lives, maintaining balance, husbands, partners, finances, running, quiet time and our personal evolution. These off the record conversations are what make our woman-to-woman connection so meaningful, powerful and transformative. These are what draw me in, year after year, to dig a little deeper, explore a little further, RISK a little bit more to share who I am and what I stand for. I am so blessed to know you.

This list could go on and on and on, but in closing this post, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my run with Lauren Byrne. Lauren works at Girls on the Run International and is one of the funniest human beings you will ever meet. One afternoon at the summit, we decided to go for a 5 mile run. We were both battling colds, but thought the outdoor air would do us some good…so off we went. I’m attaching our route, thanks to her Garmin watch. (Okay…so I have to admit, this really was the coolest thing in the world…to be able to actually plot out exactly where we went, how long it took us etc.)

As you can see, we got lost. (See photo above.) We were running up, down, back and forth through Austin trying to find the hotel, which you can ALSO see was right under our nose. When Lauren sent this “snapshot” of where we had been and how we had moved in, around, up and down Austin trying to locate the hotel…I thought I would die laughing. Such a metaphor for my life…I’m always looking, searching, changing routes and trying to find what is usually right there in front of me or within me, all along.

Gratitude abounds, joy lives within and I delight in the warmth, connections and love this program brings to me on a daily basis. Celebrate, sisters. Embrace, Love, Laugh, Honor and know that our work is changing lives…including mine, yours…ours!

I love you all,

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