I just wanted to take a quick moment to share a personal experience that I had on Monday morning at the annual “Breakfast of Champions” for the Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh at the Raleigh Convention Center.
As always, this was a ‘first class’ event and served as a great opportunity to support one of the stronger and more credible charitable organizations in our region. The keynote speaker at the event was none other than our own Debbie Yow.
Debbie’s NC State contingent included: her husband; Chancellor Randy Woodson; Bobby Purcell from the Wolfpack Club; and a few other folks whom I refuse to mention. The NC State Marching Band was in attendance playing all of the usual favorites.
Two things really stood out for me at the event:
(1) The general presence and overall feeling of “NC State” was very present and impressive. This is very hard to convey into words – but, the combination of the band, the spirit, the red and the professionalism of the NC State group created a general vibe in the room just ‘felt right.’
(2) Debbie’s comments were fantastic. You must realize that the topic of this event was not to talk about NC State athletics, or college athletics, or even athletics at all. Surely, there is some overlap between activities and successes of young, underprivileged children in the Boys and Girls Clubs evolving and matriculating up through athletics careers. But, this was a charity event with a keynote speaker who needed to deliver an appropriate message for the situation.
So, Yow’s comments took a very business-like direction that were outside of her conventional speaking engagements. After discussing charity and some specifics of how much money given by Americans each year, Debbie then launched into a very personal story about someone who gained significant value from their boys club experience — ultimately revealing it was her husband. I couldn’t help but be impressed with her (a) understanding of the tone of the room and (b) ability to deliver such a strong and appropriate message from a place that was not her day to day experience.
In short, she was fantastic!! And, fantastic on a stage that is not her sweet spot but is very important to our University in general — the greater Raleigh business and charity community. This wasn’t just some ‘local Wolfpackers’ getting together to chum it up; this was a gathering of some of the most important companies in the Triangle who all paid big dollars for sponsorship tables.
Unfortunately, while enjoying the moment, I also couldn’t help but allow my mind to drift and imagine the nightmare and embarrassment that could’ve/would’ve ensued if the ‘last guy’ had been invited to give the keynote. While experiencing this nightmare, I also couldn’t help but note a lesson sitting right in front of my face — a few of the prominent Wolfpackers in the room on Monday morning have been equally as ‘prominent’ over the last 20+ years. And, when the ‘last guy’ was around they were just as happy to be dignitaries in the room without ever exercising any leadership or responsibility to make a change from the last bozo to a real leader like Debbie. Yet, here they are lapping up the spotlight and the positive glow that she is creating but never would’ve existed if SOMEONE (Chancellor Woodson and some Board members) hadn’t finally found their way to Raleigh.
The overall ethos of the spirit and climate created in that room on Monday morning was very polished, professional and beneficial for NC State University. I just thought you might like to know.