My 2018 Heroes
Heroes inspire us to be our better selves and I want to celebrate five personal heroes who stood out for me in different ways in 2018.
John McCain dedicated his life to public service after more than five unimaginable years as a POW in Vietnam. That fact alone tells us what a hero he was. I was so moved by his valor when I learned that he refused early release until all the American POWs captured before him were released. Throughout his long political career, he displayed true greatness and enormous resilience, and had moments of very public moral clarity that inspire many of us to live our values fully. And like the rest of us, he also showed his humanness through his complexities and paradoxes.
Anita Hill’s legacy is so powerful and so relevant to 2018 events. Women were outraged by her demeaning interrogation at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing in 1991. I was motivated to listen to her testimony again in light of the Kavanaugh hearing this fall. I was struck by her poise and composure, and her ability to deliver such articulate responses under such arduous circumstances. Her immediate legacy had been to activate women to run for public office in the 1992 US elections. And she was a trail blazer of the #MeToo movement long before it had a name or hashtag. She lived, breathed and vocalized her values at a high personal price, and we owe her so much for her bravery.
Sheila Gordon and Dionne Grayman are the founders of We Run Brownsville and I had the great fortune to meet them this year. They help women take ownership of their well-being, and cultivate their advocacy and leadership skills through running. Participants complete a 5k run at the end of their 12-week program. Their tenacity, empathy and focus got We Run Brownsville off the ground. You can read more about them, their organization and their highly complementary leadership styles here. Their work is a reminder to me that self-care is a necessity, not a luxury, if we are to support and engage in important causes in our communities and beyond.
Joanne Killmeyer was my coaching professor and mentor, and I miss her every day. We all need wise, experienced mentors to guide us and I didn’t fully appreciate how lucky I was to have her in my life. I wrote a longer piece earlier this year about how beloved she was by her NYU coaching students and colleagues.
These heroes propel me to contribute more of myself and my talents to create a more just, caring and engaged society, and to truly live by my values even when that is uncomfortable or difficult.
Wishing everyone peace.