Sunday, September 22, 2019

An eventful week

Was your week eventful? Thursday the NYDLA attended an event in NYC with our friends at Intrado. I had the privilege of presenting to the room - while streaming LIVE to the world. 

It struck me that just a few years ago, you would have to be a Fortune company to communicate and collaborate with the world. Today, via technologies powered by Intrado and others, we sometimes take global collaboration and real-time communication for granted.

Friday was another event - this time on the INTREPID

Our first presenter was Rhonda Vetere, Global CIO/CTO, Two Time Author and Triathlete.

Rhonda's body of work is amazing, celebrating women who are breaking down barriers and defining the future of STEM. Rhonda shared stories how she and her team navigate the volatile tech industry. She spoke of her passion for sport and how she takes her grit to the road, including insight from a recent trip to the Serengeti where she participated in the inaugural Serengeti Girls Run event. Rhonda then ran 55 miles over the course of three days for a female empowerment fundraiser - the first women-only run of its kind. A passionate leader, Rhonda has worked in global executive positions of Estee Lauder, AIG, HP, Barclays / Lehman Brothers, Bank One, JP Morgan Chase, CompuServe, UUNET, MCI and Worldcom - managing teams of more than 20,000 people.

Rhonda says -The best way to make your mark is to get your hands dirty. 

Her book Grit & Grind uses real-life stories of how we all face obstacles as we wind our way through life. Whether you're seeking success at work, creating a lasting relationship, or just trying to get "unstuck" in some area of your life, the quickest way to get what you want is to dive into the mess and learn your way through it. Her book offers simple but elegant ways to face anything that comes your way. Rhonda knows firsthand that there's no such thing as a perfect, struggle-free life. She said: "It's not the challenges you face, but how you face them that matters." 

When you're not afraid of getting your hands dirty, nothing can stop you from achieving the life you desire. Members of NYDLA receive her book for free when they join our global communty.

Our keynote speaker was Major General Brett Williams, USAF (Ret.)

He described his experiences transitioning from the world of flying operations into leading teams of Cyber and IT professionals. He compared and contrasted his experiences in DoD to what he experienced in the past five years in the private sector. Brett provided an overview of today's threat with specific emphasis on the nation state threat. He had strong opinions of why, at an executive level, we are challenged to defend today's networks and how moving to the cloud offers some clear advantages with regards to security. 

And then, we enjoyed a VIP tour of the INTREPID with Sebastian, Museum Educator.

Sebastian made the INTREPID come alive. His words, retelling the history of the ship, from its first days of service, to WWII to Vietnam, to recovering NASA space capsules. And now, as the SEA, AIR & SPACE MUSEUM.

While taking a VIP tour on the INTREPID, I learned of how many people of color were true heroes, how many times they saved the entire ship. And because they were people of color, they were never honored or even recognized until many years later. 

Each branch of the Armed Forces has historically had different policies regarding racial segregation. Although Executive Order 9981 officially ended segregation in the Armed Forces in 1948, following World War II, some forms of racial segregation continued until after the Korean War. I have been thinking about this ever since I left the ship. How (as a person of color) it must have felt to fight for, to put your life on the line for a country that still had active racial segregation.

On October 29, 1944, a kamikaze smashed into a gun tub on INTREPID's port side. A gun crew of African American sailors, who usually served as cooks or waiters in the officer's mess, courageously fired at the airplane as it crashed into their position. Ten men lost their lives. 

Yes, this was an eventful week. We met people live, and we met people virtually. We shook people's hands, and we "shook hands" with people via video, 12 time zones away. 

And we met people - true heroes - via their life stories being retold by Sebastian, from 74 years, 10 months and 25 days ago. 

Life is a series of moments and events, some live, some virtual, some retold via stories of the past. 

I just finished reading Rhonda's book - it's one of those books that you cannot put down once you start reading. Here's to living an extraordinary life - an INTREPID life. 

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