The January 6th events in Washington taught me that I value a democratic form of government because of the freedom it offers me. It also taught me that one person can make a difference in the world. The courage of one person, Eugene Goodman, a Capitol Police Officer, who led the mob away from the door into the House Chamber, gave the members of Congress time to escape moments before the mob broke in. His brave actions came foreground for me.

Later in the month, the poet, Amanda Gorman, inspired me with her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” I was reminded to “be the light.” She said that “our country is not broken, just not finished.” The reading by her of her poem along with her hand gestures held me spellbound. Her words reminded me to look for ways to contribute to an unfinished country and world.  Her poem also caused me to realize the power of words. 

The inauguration ceremony and the “peaceful” transition of power gave me a moment to consider how rare an event this is. Every four or eight years we transfer power to a new administration peacefully based on the outcome of an election and consent by “We the People” to be governed by this elected body. The historic election and swearing-in of Kamala Harris, the first female vice-president who identifies as African-American and Asian-American. I felt pride in her accomplishments and for me overcoming my small Illinois farm town racial biases over the years. It also reminded me of a rainy Saturday morning many years ago when I was working in East St. Louis and looked up to see a muddied wind-blown girl in a yellow dress framed by the gleaming St. Louis Arch in the background. The image said “possibility.”

Recently I watched a video announcing the formation of the Greater St. Louis, Inc. organization which is the result of the combining five St. Louis area economic development organization to work towards ending the region’s systemic racism and make equality and inclusion the foundation of the new organization. 

Hearing the leaders of the newly combined organization—including, AllianceSTL, GeoFutures, STLMade, and CentralCitySTL—articulate their commitment to the collaborative effort to create a reimagined Greater St Louis inspired me. I am grateful for the inspiration of Andrew C. Taylor, Founding Chair who feels in business the core values are: service to customers, employees, growth and reasonable profits in that order.

Each of these examples of people making a difference in the world instills in me a desire to join them in their efforts.  I ask myself, what can I do to contribute to a better world, particularly in the communities and organizations in which I live and also in ones where I do business?  How can I lend a hand to create a more just, inclusive, and equitable society?