Along with 13,000 people of all ages, men and women, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing Michelle Obama speak for close to two hours last week.
Now I have heard her live before and she hasn’t changed, if anything she was even more open and authentic about her life before the White House and after. It is her authenticity and humour that keeps you engaged in what she has to say.
And she is so real. Like her stories about raising her teenage daughters and their last sleepover before they moved out of the White House. It resonated I am sure with many of the parents in the audience. As is often the case, the girls were grumpy and uncooperative the next morning, having eaten and enjoyed all the food that their chef had prepared for them, but she had to move them along so they were ready for the inauguration of the new president. You could just picture the scene.
That Michelle cares deeply about her children and their welfare goes without saying, but it is the depth of her compassion and focus on the needs of all children that stands out. As she rightly says, our younger generation are our future. We need to invest in them and make sure they believe in themselves and what they can achieve.
She herself grew up in an ordinary, working class family. There wasn’t much money but there was lots of love and caring. Her parents instilled their values into her and her brother, and she never took what she had for granted and has never forgotten her humble beginnings.
When Michelle talked about visiting the war veterans in hospital you could hear how touched and proud of them she was. She and Obama would visit them on a regular basis, and so they were able to see the progress being made as they learned to walk again using a prosthesis, for example. And then seeing them take part in the Invictus Games was the icing on the cake.
But as she pointed out, when you see the suffering of the injured soldiers, you realize how devastating war is, and how we need to avoid it at all costs. While she was asked questions about the White House now, she was as diplomatic and graceful as ever, more pointing out how she and her husband chose to run the country, rather than being outwardly critical of the current regime.
What’s next for the Obamas? They have launched a production company, producing documentaries on issues important to them, children’s programs and more. It is good to know that they are still able to impact the world we live in. Like many, I miss their grace, visionary thinking and global perspective.
If you haven’t read her book Becoming, I highly recommend it.
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.