Nan Keohane spoke here last Thursday, on leadership and learning. She recalled that when she came in as the President of Duke University, she made sure not to propose any big changes in the first three months. She choose instead to sit with a lot of people, and listen. To not make judgment or movement until she felt she understood the people and understood how her suggestion would fit the culture of the place she was in. I would like to remember that. I would also like to remember her warmth and compassion for everyone; regardless.
I've liked the topics of gender arising lately, through interactions with AWIB events, and with friends and speakers like Nan. I liked how Nan said: we ought to always remember that serving genders equally doesn't mean providing the same services to both genders, it means serving each gender as that gender might need to be served. She created Duke's Women's Initiative. There was a similar topic at a talk by Cait Clarke, who co-authored "The Women's Guide to Successful Negotiating." Unfortunately, Cait decided to suggest too strongly that women might want to approach the table with unique "womanly" aspects in order to be successful around men, especially, she said, older men. A good message, to accept who we are and allow ourselves to be that, but poorly communicated. She said other things, but we remembered the offense. And of course, sharing meals and emails with my wonderful girl friends, pondering the turns and occasions of a woman's life.
Other things are falling away. I've forgotten what it feels like to train every day, the hug of my ballroom heels, and that music spinning into me. But Heritage is just a month away, and so I begin to plan my training schedule. I watch sleeplessness impending. I wonder, "can I do it, after all?"
I'm bored of my own writing. May I start over? Today, as perhaps always, the answer is "no." Time has run. Class now.