I met with Mayor Foxx a couple of weeks ago about my idea for small business funding.
I have to say that the entire office had such a positive feel about it. I don’t know what I expected, exactly, but every member of his staff as well as other personnel were friendly and welcoming. Every single person who passed me as I sat in the reception area smiled and greeted me. In my experience, the demeanor of the office usually reflects the management, and in this case, I was fairly impressed.
The Mayor spent close to half an hour with me discussing my proposal. He likes the idea very much; now we just have to see if it’s feasible. I’ve met with someone who works closely with the governor’s office to create new jobs here and next week I meet with someone who might be a corporate sponsor – or at the very least – will be able to offer some direction on where to go next.
I’ve spent the last few weeks lobbying (and by lobbying I mean BEGGING) the MBA programs at my school for help since I’m in WAY over head at this point. Unfortunately, we are coming close to the end of the semester and everyone is way too busy. On the plus side, one of the women in Alumni Relations reached out to our MBA alumni group and I’ll be meeting with someone on Tuesday who is willing to help. He works for Bank of America – would be nice to get them involved!
President Obama is coming to Charlotte this week to talk about small businesses and job creation. I’m sure he’ll call (grins). Ok, a girl can dream, right?
I’m so busy right now it’s feeling a little overwhelming!
This past week I gave a speech at our scholars luncheon. One of my grants is the Pat and B.D. Rodgers Fellowship. I met them at the speech – really kind people. I hope that I will be able to get to know them better. Pat was just named Charlotte Businesswoman of the Year. She is an amazing woman – very inspirational in what she has done with her life. I love the fact that they are so involved with philanthropy. I think each of us has a responsiblity to effect change to the best of our ability – and the fact that they funded a fellowship specifically for non-traditional students is incredibly generous.
I realize I completely disappeared from the blogosphere. I promise to do better. I’ve had lots going on, from arguing my first legal case in Moot Court at school, to writing my speech for the Scholarship/Fellowshop/Donor luncheon later this month to mid-terms to creating a proposal for the Mayor – and actually getting a meeting with him! You know – the usual. It’s been a whirlwind month.
I’ll try to catch up with everything over the next week.
In the meantime, I really am meeting Mayor Foxx tomorrow at 2pm. I really love how democracy works - it’s kind of amazing to me that I can come up with an idea, email it to the mayor’s office, and then have a chance to present it to someone who can do something about it. How cool is that?
One of the Mayor’s goals is to help small businesses here in Charlotte. The economy being what it is, so many businesses are having an impossible time finding funding. My idea is a creative way to provide funding; it will be interesting to see what he thinks – and where it will go from here. I’ve spoken with the powers that be at The Center for Entrepreneurship at Queens University of Charlotte. I’m hoping that there might be some synergy between them and my idea…I’ll let you know what happens tomorrow.
In my first philosophy class, I walked in to find the stereotypical philosophy students lounging in their chairs. My favorite was the student with dredlocks, rumply unironed shirts and loose cargo pants, who snuck off at every break to smoke and discuss Nietzsche with an earnest, young, freshly scrubbed, free spirited young woman.
Sadly, I had never even HEARD of Nietzsche and certainly was not cool enough to debate existentialism with someone twenty years younger (not then, anyway. My coolness factor is increasing by leaps and bounds, of course).
Some non-traditional students have talked to me about their frustrations with being in class with kids the same age as our kids. When your classmates talk about going out and partying or express a worldview that seems naive, how do you not react like a parent? Or, how do you avoid being the out-of-touch older student? It can be hard not to feel completely out of place.
Personally, I love being in class with young students. Some of the most interesting conversations I have had are with students 20 years younger than I am. Their viewpoints are often fresh and new and force me to look at ideas in ways I haven’t considered. Every day I sit in class with these brilliant kids and it renews my hope for the future. They are aware of the world in ways that my generation simply was not – globalization has made it possible for them to make connections all over the world. I can’t help but think that these relationships being forged over skype and facebook will have a long-term effect on the kinds of (good) decisions they will make as they grow older.
This is what helps me:
1. I don’t parent. These aren’t my kids, and they aren’t my responsibility.
2. I never make fun of an idea or belief.
3. I accept them for what they are – brilliant, active kids who may party hard – but they work just as hard.
4. I expect to learn from them – I don’t expect them to learn from me.
5. I ask them questions, I ask for opinions and advice – in short, I talk to them – I engage. I am genuinely interested, and my interest bridges the gap of the years between us. Many of them have become my friends, and I am incredibly proud of that.
6. I am honest. If I am scared or worried about a test, I tell them. Invariably they are my biggest cheerleaders. If I am excited about an achievement, I tell them, and they celebrate with me.
7. Like most things, attitude is everything.
One of my favorite moments this semester was walking into Constitutional Law and having my classmates from the previous semester save a seat for me. Now THAT’S overcoming the generation gap!