Reflections from NAMWOLF in Houston

Wandering through the lobby of the Hilton Americas, Saturday morning in that post-conference sort of daze. How many conversations can you pack into 3 days? How many things on your daily task list got pushed until now as you read this over a week later? One of the attendees recognized me and kindly offered to share a cab to the airport. She had ordered it ahead of time, from the woman who picked her up at the airport when she first arrived for the conference. I accepted.

After about ten minutes, we realized that my new friend was headed to Hobby Airport, while I needed to go to George Bush International. “There’s more than one airport in Houston?” she asked to our later amusement.

Oh dear, what have I done? As a funny consolation, she started inquiring about my business, and said, “I’ll try extra hard to get you some business.”

Luckily, I was very early, and Isabel, our driver was ready for the challenge to get me from Hobby to IAH on time. 77 years old and wizened with a noticeable tremor in her right hand, she began regaling me with vignettes from 20 years on the road in her own cab – making for a most entertaining cab ride. This was her “second” career. The first was driving an 18-wheeler for 20 years. Mostly, her theme was resilience – being robbed at gun point, and fighting back (this included prime-time worthy stories of dragging her would-be assailant by the part of his clothes that were caught in the door), using a bat on the legs of an aggressive competing cab driver. The stories went on and on, much to my delight. Realizing that she loves to drive enough to transfer her love from the 18-wheeler tractor and trailer to a taxicab, remembering that from a young age she told her mother what she was going to do when she grew up, and then doing it, represent our part of the bargain – thriving, doing what you love.

A couple of lessons upon reflection are glaring and they are directly related to why our collective commitment to NAMWOLF is so vital. Recognizing the power unleashed when we support one another in the face of “extra” adversity is undeniable. Women (and men) like Isabel, making their way, knowing what they love are key to the ultimate goals of organizations like NAMWOLF. When they are doing it, when they get you where you need to be, everyone wins.

It may not appear so at first glance (or even at second or third glance ;-), but goodness gracious, I got to the Houston International airport on time and filled with inspiration.

See you in Fort Lauderdale.