I am 31.5 years of age and I can officially say, October 9 – 17 was a time in my life I will never forget. A week that was invigorating. A week that was exhausting, mentally, physically and spiritually. A week that was inspiring and filled with ideas. A week where I was sad, challenged, excited, tired, awed and fulfilled. A week that took me a week to recover and sit to type this. Why? Well, for this note, I am going to “summarize” the insanity. Enjoy.
Sunday, October 9
My husband woke up at 6am and decided he would run the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Now, he did train. But, half-way through training he was injured. With. Shingles. Yes. His body was rejecting 26.2. So for the past two months, there wasn’t any running for Rick. So when he got up Sunday morning and decided to ‘try’ it, my response, as any supportive wife’s response would be, was ‘text me if you need me to come run with you…’ Low and behold, I received the text and went in for the rescue at mile 16. We walked to mile 17 and Rick demanded I buy him a Coke. We stopped, sat down and Rick chugged a Coke. He claimed his legs wouldn’t move anymore. So as we neared mile 18, we stopped. Rick was sick, it was 84 degrees. I had no idea how to get him home (no cabs, no public trans and thousands of runners and people everywhere). 15-20 minutes had passed and I thought, “hmmm…I can’t carry him…will we just die here together, in love, in Little Italy? It will be a nice love story.” And then, low and behold, our friend, Mr. Jimmy Lee (otherwise known as a gift from God), pulled up out of nowhere. We hopped into his car, he drove us home, Rick puked and passed out for 3 hours. Good times.
Monday, October 10
- Noon: Social entrepreneurship talk at Chicago Ideas Week. Wow, wow and wow. I felt alive and inspired and wow’d by this panel of people. Dave Gilboa, co- founder of Warby Parker, Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of Charity: Water, Leila Janah, founder and CEO of Samasource…and more. People changing the world, one idea at a time. Literally. This was one of my favorite sessions of CIW. Will blog further about these incredible people.
- 3pm: Prayers and tears as I said good-bye to a special, special women. My best friend’s mom had passed from pancreatic cancer and Monday was her wake. Cathy O’Connor is now in heaven with God and no doubt, enjoying her time there and smiling down on her husband and children.
- 6pm: International Mayoral Event at The Oriental Theatre in Chicago. Mayor Bloomberg from NYC, Rahm from Chicago and Reed from Atlanta. Rick and I arrived, exhausted. 30 minutes later we left and went to Chipotle for dinner. Here’s the deal. We just aren’t political people. Period.
Tuesday, October 11
A celebration of Mrs. Cathy O’Connor. While funerals are very sad events, this one was different for me for some reason. It truly was a celebration of her as a mom, a servant for the world, a wife and a friend. My heart was happy in hearing Father Tom talk about her, about what it means to be a follower of Christ and how we have a choice: We can choose to move on, live life and follow her lead and live joyful, serving lives. Or we can die a bit, hide and be angry. My prayers are for her family and friends to choose the former. Mrs. O’Connor build her house on rock and the story of the Three Little Pigs will forever remind me of her and her family. And then, to witness my best friend give her mom’s eulogy in such a real, humbling and brave way was truly a moment in time that will remain in my heart forever. Love like you want to be loved.
Late afternoon on Tuesday I attended a Fast Company Creativity Sessionfor Chicago Ideas Week and was able to see Doug Ulman, president & CEO of LIVESTRONG, Robin Willner, VP at IBM, Jeff Semenchuk, Chief Innovation Officer at Hyatt…and more. I then trekked to a Time Magazine Innovation and Influence panel at Northwestern. This was Brad Keywell interviewing Suze Orman (two thumbs down for her, no offense…she’s loud, instills fear, somewhat phony and has a distorted view of the world. I’m sure you are probably thinking, “wow, Ann, tell us how you really feel!” This obnoxious-ness was followed by a panel of incredible people including Michelle Rhee, Founder & CEO, StudentsFirst, and Rob Bell, author of Love Wins and Founding Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church
And yes, I was inspired. But nobody could have followed Eileen’s words for her mom and the love that permeated all day among family and friends in Mrs. O’Connor’s honor.
Wednesday, October 12
- 9am: Live Social Media event for Chicago Ideas Week, LiveLab at Suite Partners: how to get your fans to go from liking you to loving you. Words can’t describe this session, but let’s just say it was a live taping, the next generation of social media and I felt like I was on the Jetson’s. More to come on this.
- 12 noon: Lunch with dear friend Audra, amazing women and professional who works for Oprah Magazine. Brainstormed on how to change the world. I’ll vote it a success.
- 4pm: Great discussion with my boss [continuation of changing the world]
- 7pm: Intelligence Squared Debate live broadcast through NPR: “Too Many Kids Go to College” This was a great debate, two-on-two (for: Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder, Charles Murray, author, against: Henry Bienen, President Northwestern University, Vivek Wadhwa, entrepreneur turned academic, reserach for Duke University and columnist for The Post and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. After almost 2 hours, the audience voted and agreed with the ‘for’ team, too many kids DO go to college. I know, sounds crazy. But, you had to be there and frankly, the education system in America MUST change.
Thursday, October 13
- Lunch with dear friend, Vaneesha Pause. Ahh, always learn and grow and feel lots of love with V! [continuation of changing the world]
- 4:3pm: TEDx Midwest! I will be doing a series of “TED Notes” as part of my blog to go deeper into who I heard, what I learned and how incredible TED is. But to summarize, this first session was on Courage and 5 people talked: Alison Levine, Jerry Mitchell, Kevin Bacon, Amory Lovins and Bill Strickland. Brilliance, bravery and bold leadership.
- 6:30pm – 8:30pm: TEDx Networking. Met some awesome people, had some wine and was definitely outside of my comfort zone, believe it or not. Being in a room with hundreds of brilliant people is intimidating. Everyone is doing something amazing and to have the privilege to meet and get to know some of them was very humbling.
Friday, October 14
9am – 6pm: Full day of TED. Sessions included Nature, the Future, From Fear to Love and Anything’s Possible. Morning networking, noon networking and you guessed it, afternoon networking. Talks on how to make the world suck less (literally was the name of his talk), the ridiculous humor of John Hodgman (“I’m A PC”), first-time powerpoint user, Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Sreet), inspiring talk from Paul Nicklen, National Geographic Photojournalist and more. Minute by minute I felt more inspired, intelligent and confused, all at the same time.
6pm – 10pm: United Way Women’s Leadership Council reception and dinner at The Pump Room and the Public Hotel.
10pm – 1am: Intimate gathering at Nomi at Park Hyatt of amazing people like Mike Gogis, Lindsay Avner, JR Kerr and Jill Felska [continuation of changing the world].
Saturday, October 15
Rest. Time with Rick. Reconnect with everyone I met this week. Tommy and Charlene Lee’s wedding.
Sunday, October 16
Sleep. Get caught up with life. Church. Grocery store. J. Crew. Run 4 miles. 3 loads of laundry. Sprinkles Cupcakes. Make dinner. Prepare for wedding shower for dear friend Christina. Blog. Bed.
Monday, October 17
Work. 6pm guests arrive at my house for bridal shower. Skinny Girl cocktails, amazing food, great conversations. 11pm minor meltdown with dear friend Vaneesha. 11:30pm bed.
Happy to report now that it is Friday, October 21, I am recovered, I feel a little smarter and I feel VERY blessed to have met so many amazing new people. I look forward to a low-key weekend with friends and family. The End.