Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When the president shows up unannounced...

When the President of the United States of America just shows up at the summit you're attending, you try not to act too surprised. You pretend to take notes, you try not to grin too broadly, because no matter where you stand politically, meeting the President of the United States is pretty cool.

President Barack Obama drops by the Women’s Online Summit in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Jan. 31, 2011. 
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Click on the photo to enlarge it. That's me, fourth from the right, mid-blink. I'm not allowed to quote what he said, but I can tell you that it was validating and inspirational and exactly the reason why I love what I do for a living.

Along with about 25 others, I had braved the snowstorms to attend an Online Women's Summit hosted by the White House, to discuss policy, plans, and initiatives that affect women and girls. Things like the economy and education and health and business -- things that affect all of us, really, but can affect women in ways we don't normally consider. I am so grateful to have a job that gives me opportunities like this.

We were able to tour the East Wing of the White House by special appointment, and our guide was very, very patient as we scrambled to take pictures of one another. Yes, Mom, I saw Mr. Lincoln's portrait, too:

The views were amazing. I was awed and inspired. Even though I've been to Washington plenty of times, I've never taken a tour of the White House.

But the highlight was shaking hands with POTUS. I was amazed that he took the time to talk to each one of us, ask us our names and what we do, looked us each in the eye and shook each of our hands.

(Hint: I'm the short one. Photo by Jessica McGranahan of Burst Media. Thanks, Jessica!)

Stay tuned for the stories -- if you haven't already bookmarked my section at Yahoo's Shine, you can click here and do so. That's where they'll be.

(In the Green Room. Photo taken by Laurie Berger of Lifescript.com. Thanks, Laurie!)

I came away from the summit with a slew of story ideas I can't wait to tackle, a stack of business cards from whip-smart people with whom to network and collaborate, and the distinct feeling that the stereotype of fluffy "women's pages" was being kicked to the curb. And I'm excited for what comes next.


Leandra said...

I hope it won't embarrass you too much when I say that I want to be you when I grow up. You are one of the coolest ladies I know and you get to do the coolest things!

LMAlphonse said...

I'm honored, Madame! But I think you're amazing as you!