February 22, 2012 Lunch with First Lady Michelle Obama – “A Woman of Presence”
On Tuesday, February 21st, I had the privilege to attend the Women in Technology luncheon with 250 phenomenal women, featuring first lady Michelle Obama as the guest speaker. The energy in the room, which focused on the work being done in the various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) communities was electrifying.
The energy intensified to an explosion when the first lady entered the room to join us for our group photo. I was humbled by the experience. It was at that moment that I realized that for me Michelle Obama represents “A Woman of Presence” apparent in the way she greeted us, her magnetic demeanor, and her simply elegant style. It was evident that in that moment, given all she had on her agenda, we were her most important meeting.
She delivered her message with grace on the importance of innovation and technology as a game changer for our nation, the importance of women in the workplace and the economic stimulus gained with equal pay for women. She continued to remind us of the importance of healthcare reform particularly for our children and our seniors, and the topic near and dear to me – ending the war and bringing our veterans home with a solid infrastructure of medical care, job skill training programs and employment in the civilian workforce. As she spoke, I thought about the road we have travelled over the past 3 years. A road in which our political agenda has been so intertwined with our personal agenda, where public policy was all about people policy, and in which each of us are within six degrees of separation from any political issue on the forefront today.
I recalled our national journey from “Yes we can “to “Yes you can” (when times got tough) to a congressional stance of “No you won’t” to “Maybe we ought”, a steady presidential stance of “Yes we will” and finally to where we are today in this new political season of, as in the words of our first lady – “Who do we want to be?”
First Lady Obama so eloquently reminded us that our individual stories represent the fabric of America’s story; and the question for each of us is – are you in?
First Lady, Michelle Obama – A lady of presence – to be revered.