This trip was very exhausting like I just got back from a 5 day long music festival. I saw some outstanding presentations from some outstanding people including one of my longtime heroes Robert Ballard. They spoke of triumph over failure and how to persevere through it all.
The first presenter was Justin Jones-Fosu a very energetic speaker who engaged the audience quite well. Literally going out into the crowd and interacting with several audience members (glad I wasn’t in the front row). In 2008, Justin was named one of Ebony Magazine’s “30 Young Leaders Under 30 On the Rise.” He is an author, an award-winning entrepreneur, and a professional speaker. He recently published his first book “Inspiration for Life: Dream Bigger, Do More, Live Fuller!”. He spoke of personality types and how to interact with each type to better accommodate a team atmosphere.
Next was Inge Auerbacher, a holocaust survivor. Her story was amazing and infuriating at the same time. Her life is an inspiration to perseverance and tolerance. Inge Auerbacher was born in Germany and from 1942-1945, at the age of seven, spent three years in the Nazi Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. On November 10, 1938, her father and grandfather were arrested and taken away during the chaos of Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, and sent to the Dachau concentration camp.
Then there was an amazing woman Alison Levine! She has climbed the 7 tallest peaks on each of the 7 continents. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, she went ahead and skied across both the North as well as the South Pole. One of the things I remember from her presentation was when she spoke of climbing Mount Everest. She spoke of the time it takes to climb it (2 Months!). At that altitude you must acclimate your body or you will die. Towards the last 1500 feet you must take five to ten breaths for each step you take because of the thin air up there. At many time she wanted to give up but as a leader she could not. She thought “If I can just make it to that rock, if I can just make it to that piece of ice. Then before I knew it I was saying if I can just do two more steps I’ll be there.” It was a metaphor of the goals we set in life. She spoke with such conviction and leadership I was very inspired.
Then comes My favorite Dr. Robert Ballard-the discoverer of the Titanic. He spoke of the importance of dreams and passion for your dreams. He informed us of something I didn’t know about the hunt for the Titanic. He wasn’t actually supposed to find it he was sent by our government to spy for other countries submarine activity using the search for Titanic as a cover. He is dedicated to diversity. Of his crew of fifty, fifty five percent are women (because fifty five percent of the population is women). Not to mention every race is reflected in his crew. He stated ” I want everyone to see themselves on my crew. If you don’t see your face up here (on the power point of his crew) then contact me and we’ll change that!”. So inspirational I was welling up with tears.
In the end It was one of the most inspirational events of my life. Who could ask for much more?